Nicola Sturgeon urged to review Scots two metre distancing rule

The Tories have called for the two metre social distancing rule in Scotland to be reviewed to "save thousands of jobs" in the country's beleaguered hospital industry.

Nicola Sturgeon has urged caution
Nicola Sturgeon has urged caution

Nicola Sturgeon today said she understood the frustration of Scots, but warned against complacency in the battle against Coronavirus by lifting the safeguard too soon.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already pledged a review of the two metre rule will happen south of the border in response to calls from the hospitality industry, although scientific advisers warn it could lead a rise in COVID-19 cases.

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The Scottish Beer and Pub Association has endorsed the reduction in social distance stating that, at one metre, 3,400 pubs will be able to open their doors when lockdown eases as opposed to less than half that number, 1,500, if the distance remains at two metres.

“Thousands of jobs in Scotland could be saved if the Scottish Government reviews the 2m rule," Scots Tory leader Jackson Carlaw said today.

“Given that we are inevitably going to see a steep decline in overseas tourism this summer and beyond, it is even more important that we can encourage Scots to go out and spend money.

“This is why it is absolutely crucial that the 2m social distancing rule is reviewed.

“Looking again at the distance measure must be considered as part of the journey out of lockdown.”

Scotland’s pubs and bars alone account for more than 45,000 jobs, and more still through the supply chain in breweries.

The call comes on the back of research from Yougov suggesting that British consumers are twice as likely to return to pub gardens than pubs themselves, again suggesting that the crucial 2m is deterring customers.

The research shows that 26% of the public is comfortable visiting pubs, 37% of the public is comfortable visiting restaurants, while 53% of the public is comfortable visiting pub gardens once lockdown rules have been eased.

But Ms Sturgeon said today: "If you’re frustrated about 2m distancing in a workplace, all I would say to address that is, I’m frustrated too. I don’t want to live like that. But we still need to have restrictions in place and exercise a degree of caution. That I’m worried enough about the implications of not doing that should tell you it’s necessary.

"The Government will not keep restrictions in place any longer than necessary. But this is a serious, serious virus and we cannot be complacent about the impact of that when we still have so much to learn. If I’m being cautious, it’s not for no reason, it’s because I don’t want to have to be reporting death numbers or case numbers for any longer than I have to."

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