Covid Scotland: Jason Leitch says 'Scotland knows what a party is' as the country awaits news on whether Christmas parties should be cancelled

National Clinical Director Jason Leitch says "Scotland knows what a party is" as Scots await news on whether the Omicron Covid-19 variant means Christmas events should be cancelled.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland on Friday morning, Prof Leitch said that Scots should be able to judge themselves what is and isn’t a party following an announcement from Public Health Scotland (PHS) advising people to cancel their Christmas do’s due to the increasing number of cases of the new Omicron variant.

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He said: "If you think it's a party, it's a party. And if you're at a party and you have to ask a question, you're probably not at a party.

"I think Scotland knows what a party is. I don't think it's a family dinner, I don't think it's a dinner for four.

"I don't think it's a night out where you're controlled or where the environment is managed.

"I'm not going to get into a spreadsheet of how many people are there, how many bottles of wine there are or how many balloons there are, because that's not going to help us.”

He added that Nicola Sturgeon will set out clear advice on whether or not Christmas parties should be cancelled at her 12.15pm Friday Covid-19 update.

Covid Scotland: 'Scotland knows what a party is' says Jason Leitch as Scotland awaits news on whether Christmas parties should be cancelled

The announcement from PHS on Thursday evening was met with frustration from the hospitality sector which was relying on this year’s Christmas trade after being “on its knees” for the last 18 months.

Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG) spokesman Stephen Montgomery said many places have already had cancellations since the PHS announcement and suggested the new advice would drive people to celebrate in unsafe places like house parties

He told BBC Good Morning Scotland: “We know that hospitality is a safe place to be, we’ve invested millions over the last 20 months in whether it be ventilation, extra staff to make sure people are kept safe or washing down tables etc.

“This is a heavy, heavy blow for hospitality.”

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said she is “extremely sympathetic” to the concerns of the hospitality sector and will do anything she can to provide assistance.

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