Covid Scotland: Omicron restrictions eased with nightclubs and indoor events resuming and social distancing scrapped

A number of restrictions put in place in response to the Omicron variant sweeping across Scotland will be eased from today.

The news comes after restrictions were introduced on Boxing Day 2021 in an attempt to limit the spread of the Omicron variant in Scotland as cases began to spike.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced last week nightclubs would be able to reopen, while the caps on indoor events, table service requirements for venues selling alcohol and one metre social distancing will also be removed.

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Following the easing, events such as Celtic Connections are now able to operate in person after operating online for many of its events.

Covid restrictions across Scotland ease on Monday (Photo: Michael Gillen).

The measures were put in place in December – along with a maximum capacity in outdoor events of 500, which was eased last Monday as the new variant caused a spike in cases – eventually peaking at more than 20,000 in the first days of 2022.

Ministers have also decided against extending the vaccine passport scheme to more hospitality settings ‘at this stage’.

Yet, longer running measures such as the use of face coverings on public transport and indoor public places will continue.

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Announcing the end of the restrictions last Tuesday, Ms Sturgeon said: “Although significant pressures and uncertainties do remain, the data nevertheless gives us confidence that we have turned the corner on the Omicron wave.”

She told MSPs: “A combination of booster vaccinations, the willingness of the public to adapt their behaviour to help stem transmission, and the temporary protective measures introduced in December, has helped blunt the impact of the Omicron wave.”

Tory leader Douglas Ross said on Thursday the First Minister had been “too gung-ho” in bringing in new restrictions when the new strain was detected.

But speaking on the BBC’s Sunday Morning show, Ms Sturgeon defended the use of restrictions, saying they were “worth it”.

She added: “If you look at what we were predicting through our modelling would be the case in January before Christmas… it was around 50,000 infections a day and we didn’t see that materialise or anything like that materialise.

“So, yes, I think what we did has been worth it and we’re hopefully now seeing Scotland… very firmly on the downward slope of that Omicron wave.”

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