Children returning to school in Scotland to be prioritised above pubs and restaurants operating

Nicola Sturgeon also indicated that further restrictions on how hospitality operates could be put in place across Scotland

Schools reopening will be prioritised over hospitality businesses operating normally, the First Minister said today.
Schools reopening will be prioritised over hospitality businesses operating normally, the First Minister said today.

Further restrictions on pubs and restaurants and other hospitality could be imposed if fresh evidence shows certain behaviours increase the chance of Covid-19 transmission, the First Minister indicated today.

Speaking at her daily briefing following the announcement that Aberdeen faces renewed restrictions on activities and travel, Nicola Sturgeon said that she wants to see children return to school ahead of pubs and restaurants operating freely.

She said: “Aberdeen City Council for the plans for the reopening of schools have already been communicated. We want those to continue as planned and don’t underestimate the factor here in the decisions that we’ve taken today which is about protecting the ability of schools to return.

"This is about being more precautionary elsewhere in order that we stamp on transmission so children’s return to school is not compromised.

"I’ve said for the past few weeks that getting children back to school is the priority and this, I am afraid, is the hard edge of what that means in practice when we are facing increased transmission.

"The Children’s Commissioner in England this morning summed it up well although it is more complex than this in reality, but if it is a choice between hospitality and schools, we are choosing schools right now.

"That is because we know it is in the interests of the wellbeing of young people to get them back into education. This is about protecting that, not having that compromised which may happen if we were not to take really decisive action.”

The First Minister also indicated that fresh restrictions around the use of hospitality businesses may be put in place in the future in order to reduce the risk of the situation in Aberdeen occurring in other parts of Scotland.

Ms Sturgeon said: “We’ll be looking for lessons that we can apply elsewhere in Scotland. I am speculating at the moment which you’ve heard me say I don’t like doing so I am breaking my own rules here but it could be that what we see here is a pattern that has involved people going from one pub to another in the same night.

"It may be that we have to look at some of those lessons to think about whether we need to tighten up some of the restrictions about how hospitality is operating across the wider country.

"I don’t want to rush to conclusions on that but equally I want to make sure that we are fairly rapidly doing some assessment of that nature and I may have more to say on that later in the week.”

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