Hospitality businesses in the Central Belt – the equivalent of level three, according to the First Minister – are currently forced to shut completely if they are considered a pub or a restaurant, while cafes are allowed to operate between 6am and 6pm with no alcohol sales allowed.
Restrictions are also in place across the rest of Scotland – considered mainly level two – where pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes are only allowed to open indoors between 6am and 6pm without selling alcohol, with outdoor sales of alcohol allowed until 10pm.
These rules will ease for pubs and restaurants from Monday, with Central Belt pubs and restaurants to be allowed to open to serve food at level three.
It means the Scottish government will ditch their controversial definition of ‘cafe’, which led to confusion and criticism from opposition parties.
From Monday, hospitality venues in level two areas – expected to include Fife and the Scottish Borders – will be allowed to serve alcohol with a main meal between 6am and 8pm.
Level three will see all pubs, restaurants, bars and cafes allowed to open between 6am and 6pm for food sales and non-alcoholic drinks, an easing on current restrictions for businesses in the Central Belt.
Level one will see areas revert to a blanket and slightly extended 10.30pm curfew, while level four will see all hospitality shut completely apart from takeaway food.
Responding to the changes, Rural Economy and Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing said the Scottish government must be cautious.
He said: “I understand that any restrictions are hard for business and I know that many will want us to go further.
"However, this is a proportionate relaxation of the current rules that will enable premises to serve evening meals and alcohol in level two, in addition to removing the distinction between cafés and other licensed premises at level three.
“We need to be very cautious at level three, to ensure that the restrictions in place contribute to reducing the spread of the virus.”