Nicola Sturgeon confirms pubs and restaurants in Scotland can reopen on July 15, subject to strict health measures

Hospitality venues allowed to ease the one-metre rule

Nicola Sturgeon has said pubs and restaurants in Scotland can welcome customers indoors from Wednesday, July 15, subject to strict health measures.

The First Minister made the announcement as she informed MSPs the country would move into the third phase of her government’s four-step route map out of lockdown.

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Speaking at Thursday's First Minister's Questions session at Holyrood, the First Minister said: “Just as with indoor household meetings, opening up indoor hospitality poses significantly increased risks of transmission.

A person drinking at an outdoor beer garden. Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed pubs can reopen in Scotland from 15 July

“So it is essential that the guidance on health and safety is followed rigorously, by businesses, staff and customers.

“That includes guidance on physical distancing and taking customer contact details."

Hospitality venues will also be allowed to ease the one-metre rule, the First Minister said, with mitigations in place.

Ms Sturgeon described her statement to parliament as “the most significant milestone yet in Scotland's emergence from lockdown”.

Pubs in Scotland can reopen from 15 July.

She said: “I hope that the measures we have announced or confirmed today are welcome.

“All of them, of course, depend on us keeping the virus under control.

“Eliminating it as far as possible now – ahead of the almost inevitable challenges we will face come winter – remains our objective.

“And we will not hesitate to reimpose restrictions if we consider it necessary to halt the spread of the virus and save lives.”

Phase three could last longer than the three-week review date, the First Minister said.

Phases one and two were reached at the first opportunity, however, Ms Sturgeon said that the shift to phase four may take longer.

The First Minister went on to say there should be “cautious hope” in Scotland over the suppression of the virus.

However, Ms Sturgeon said, this was still a time of “real danger”.

She added: “Next week represents the most substantial easing of lockdown so far.

“And everything we learn about this, still new virus – about its infectiousness, its ability to kill, and its potential to do long-term damage to health – should warn us that we mess with it at our peril.

“And so perhaps more than ever, now is a time for great caution.”

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