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New COVID-19 restrictions

Tue 22 Sep 20

Updated 24th Sept

Today has seen announcements in parliament from both the Prime Minister and our First Minister with television announcements scheduled for this evening.

The new restrictions focus on no household visits and a 10pm closing time for all hospitality settings.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said today that this action is necessary in order to prevent a resurgence in community transmission of the virus and the potential for a rapid return to the pressures the NHS experienced earlier in the year.

Measures include:

Inside people’s homes (from tomorrow, Wednesday 23 September 2020)

  • Do not meet people from any other households in your home or another person’s home socially, unless they are in your extended household
  • These rules also apply to children
  • Children whose parents do not live in the same household can move between homes, as can non-cohabiting couples
  • Very limited exemptions apply for childcare, and for tradespeople

Private gardens or public outdoors spaces (from tomorrow, Wednesday 23 September 2020)

  • A maximum of six people from two households can meet in outdoor spaces
  • You should limit as far as possible the total number of households you meet in a day
  • Under-12s do not count towards the maximum number of households or number of people who can meet outdoors. Under-12s do not have to physically distance
  • A maximum of six 12 to 17 year olds can meet in outdoor spaces, with no household limit. Physical distancing is still required

Indoors in public spaces (from tomorrow, Wednesday September 23 2020)

  • A maximum of six people from two households can meet in public indoor spaces such as cafes, pubs and restaurants.
  • Children under 12 from those two households do not count towards the limits

Hospitality (from 00:01 Friday 25 September 2020)

  • Pubs, restaurants and all hospitality settings will be required to close at 10pm
  • Table service will continue to be required in all hospitality premises
  • People from more than one household (or extended household) must not stay in self-catered accommodation together while the current restrictions on indoor private gatherings are in place. This includes accommodation such as a caravans, flats and holiday cottages. If you are staying in a hotel, bed and breakfast or similar accommodation, you should not have more than one household (or extended household) staying in each room booked. Read the open letter from Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism Fergus Ewing MSP to the ASSC.

Car sharing

  • You should only car share with members of your own, or extended, household, and follow guidance when there is no alternative


  • You must continue to work from home where practicable

These restrictions will be reviewed within three weeks and further guidance will made available where necessary.

Action - and adherence to restrictions - is needed now to safeguard lives, protect from infection and bring the R number down below one.

The statement given by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh included: 

First, as I indicated earlier, we will introduce a strict nationwide curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants. From Friday, pubs, bars and restaurants will be required to close at 10pm.

Now, people sometimes ask me why we don’t just close pubs again altogether - and I understand that sentiment.

The answer - to be frank - is that we are seeking to find a balance between action to suppress the virus and the protection of people’s jobs and livelihoods.

If the Scottish Government had greater powers to borrow money, or the ability to extend the Job Retention Scheme, for example, it is possible that we could reach a different balance of judgment on some of these issues. But we don’t.

So this decision today means that we can reduce the amount of time people are able to spend in licensed premises, thereby curtailing the spread of the virus, while still allowing businesses to trade and provide jobs. This is the best balance we can strike for now.

But I want to be clear with the hospitality trade about this. Notwithstanding the economic implications, further restrictions, including possible closure, will be unavoidable - locally or nationally - if the rules within pubs and restaurants on hygiene, face coverings, table service, maximum numbers in groups, and the distance between them are not fully complied with.

I want to thank those businesses, I believe the majority, that are making huge efforts to ensure compliance. However, to ensure that this is the case for all, we will be providing resources for additional Environmental Health Officers and asking local authorities to significantly step up inspection and enforcement.

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon


View the First Ministers full statement.

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