Closure to apply immediately.
The Scottish Government is telling businesses including cafes, pubs, and restaurants to close, along with nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres.
The measures follow a meeting of the UK Government’s COBR committee, attended by the First Minister, and will be implemented across the UK with immediate effect.
Cafes and restaurants may continue to operate takeaway services but customers cannot sit-in.
The changes come as a result of updated scientific advice and will be reviewed on a monthly basis.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said:
“COVID-19 is the biggest challenge of our lifetimes, and with the number of cases set to rise sharply we must do all we can to slow it down and save lives.
“As well as continuing to wash hands more regularly and self-isolating if you or anyone in your house has any symptoms, we must also limit the number of people we come into contact with.
“That is why, in light of updated advice, we are now asking restaurants, cafes, pubs, gyms and cinemas to close. I know how difficult this is, but it is vital in reducing the spread of the virus.
“Most people have been following advice and guidance and we thank them for that. But these measures are being introduced to ensure that everyone follows the guidance which will, ultimately, save lives.”
Businesses being instructed to close include:
• Food and drink premises (other than those providing takeaway services)
• Pubs, clubs and other drinking establishments
• Cinemas, theatres and bingo halls and concert halls
• Spas, wellness centres and massage parlours
• Casinos and betting shops
• Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and swimming pools
The UK Coronavirus Bill, introduced at Westminster this week, includes measures enabling Ministers to give directions relating to events, gatherings and premises if they have declared a specific threat to public health in Scotland due to coronavirus.
This starts a “public health response period” during which the powers can be used.
Subject to the legislation being passed, the directions could include imposing restrictions or closure where this is considered necessary to protect the public against the virus or to help ensure medical or emergency services are best deployed to do so. MSPs will be debating the details of the Bill next week, before voting on the legislative consent motion.
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