Scotland gets back to business as route out of lockdown revealed

Hospitality and retail bosses in Scotland say a series of key milestone dates to restart the economy unveiled yesterday will be a “lifeline” for many firms.

An All Saints staff member dresses a mannequin in Glasgow

Shops located at indoor centres, pubs, self-catering accommodation, hairdressers and barbers are among the sectors which have now been given dates in coming weeks when they can reopen under a revised route map out of lockdown restriction.

A range of other coronavirus restrictions were also eased by Nicola Sturgeon yesterday as the latest weekly figures showed another significant fall in deaths from the virus.

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Scots will also be able to meet indoors with people from up to two other households from mid-July and the five-mile travel restriction will be lifted on 3 July.

“This greater clarity is possible because of the progress we have made against the virus – but delivering on the milestones depends on that progress continuing,” Ms Sturgeon told MSPs at ­Holyrood.

“I hope today’s statement will provide people and businesses with a bit more certainty now in their forward planning.”

The route map sets out a series of indicative dates for the remainder of phase two and the early part of phase three.

It gives the green light to self-contained holiday accommodation such as holiday cottages and lodges, and caravans to open from 3 July. This is almost a ­fortnight before the rest of the tourism sector, which returns on 15 July.

Fiona Campbell, chief executive of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, said: “We are delighted that self-catering can welcome guests again from 3 July. This news is fantastic and nothing short of a lifeline for our £723 million sector and for the many individuals and families who rely on it to support themselves.

“Scotland’s self-caterers were among the first to close our businesses as we entered lockdown, at great personal and financial cost, and now we’re poised to be among the first to help the Scottish tourist economy stand back up on its own two feet.”

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, also welcomed the route map.

“This is the announcement that Scotland’s tourism industry has been so eager to hear and will offer huge comfort to thousands of businesses that there is a summer season ahead,” he said.

“Much of our self-catering sector can start welcoming guests from 3 July – almost two weeks ahead of the now confirmed reopening date of 15 July, which is great news.”

Ms Sturgeon has previously said that retail stores inside shopping centres could not reopen at the same time as other shops this Monday. But the First Minister said yesterday that indoor shops can now reopen on 13 July.

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “This announcement will provide some much needed confidence to non-essential stores in indoor shopping centres and malls they can prepare for reopening in the next few weeks. Safety is the fundamental concern for all retailers and they have been working hard to put in place the necessary social distancing and hygiene measures to operate safely. This a welcome vote of confidence in that effort and preparation. This will also enable stores to bring colleagues back from furlough, train staff, and put suppliers on a state of readiness.”

Beer gardens and other outdoor hospitality will be allowed to re-open on Monday 6 July, after this was put on hold last week when Ms Sturgeon announced the phase two lockdown exit. Pubs, restaurants and cafes will return on 15 July, but will be required to take the names and addresses of customers for contact tracing purposes.

A review of the two-metre distancing rule, which many operators say is needed for them to be viable, will report back in early July. But it remains in place at the moment in Scotland, despite the announcement that it will be cut to “one-metre-plus”.

Paul Waterson, of the Scottish Licenced Trade Association, described yesterday’s announcement as “much-needed good news for pubs”.

But he added: “Many operators desperately need the two-metre social distancing parameter reduced if they are to be viable.

“That pubs and restaurants can open indoors from 15 July, albeit on a limited basis initially and subject to a number of conditions, is also to be welcomed.”

Tracy Black, CBI Scotland director, said: “Further easing of lockdown measures will come as a relief to businesses across Scotland – particularly those in sectors that have been so significantly impacted.

“While public health rightly remains the priority, the need for action to protect jobs and livelihoods remains urgent.”

Malcolm Cannon, national director with the Institute of Directors (IoD) Scotland, said the route map would allow “several sectors to move forward”. He said: “We will see the economy restart over the coming weeks.

“If schools do indeed return full time in August, businesses will be able to welcome back employees who may have been on furlough, without concerns of juggling work alongside home-schooling.”

The guidance advising people to travel no more than five miles for leisure and recreation purposes will be lifted on 3 July. This could allow Scots to travel to England for a holiday on 4 July when the tourism sector returns south of the Border.

Households will be able to meet people from more households outdoors from 10 July. And from this date, Scots will be able to meet indoors with people from up to two other households, subject to physical distancing and strict hygiene measures, Ms Sturgeon said.

Nursery and childcare services will be able to resume from 15 July, although capacity will remain restricted initially.

Organised outdoor sports for children and young people can, subject to guidance, resume from 13 July.

Museums, galleries, monuments, cinemas and libraries will also be able to reopen from 15 July, but with precautions in place such as tickets being secured in advance – and subject to physical distancing and strict hygiene.

But theatres, bingo halls, nightclubs, casinos and other “live” entertainment venues will not re-open any time soon.

The latest figures from National Records of Scotland (NRS) show a rise of 49 fatalities over the past week where Covid-19 was confirmed or suspected as the cause of death, taking the total to 4,119. But this latest rise was down by 69 on the increase of 118 the previous week.

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