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Stay safe as pubs open, says Nicola Sturgeon

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged people to socialise sensibly as beer gardens and pavement cafes reopen across Scotland today.

People will be expected to stick with the two-metre rule as the hospitality sector takes a big step out of lockdown, while indoor parts of pubs and restaurants could reopen on July 15 as the Covid-19 restrictions ease.

Anyone visiting them will be asked to provide their name and contact telephone number to the business as well as logging the date and time of their visit as part of Scotland’s test and protect effort.

The First Minister visited the Cold Town House terrace in Edinburgh ahead of Monday to see changes put in place to ensure the safety of staff and customers.

Sturgeon said: “The sacrifices made by the public have suppressed this virus, protected our health service and ultimately saved lives, and I know those sacrifices have not always been easy.

“I hope that as we take these first gradual steps out of lockdown people will begin to feel more of the sense of normality that we have worked so hard for – although it is important to remember that the virus has not gone away so we cannot get complacent.

“No beer garden or cafe should feel the same as it did before. The vast majority of the hospitality industry will be following the rules and putting in place new procedures to help control the virus.”

The Scottish Government has previously published guidelines for the sector which could allow them to halve the two-metre social-distancing rule.

Further guidance is expected to be published later while it is anticipated phase three measures will also be announced at some time this week.

Sturgeon added: “People should look for those safety measures and be aware of the need to follow the Facts at all times when out in the community.

“If you don’t see those safety measures, or you don’t feel you can follow appropriate hygiene rules, than don’t take the risk.

“If we continue to stick to the rules we will be able to drive the virus down further and live less restricted lives in the weeks and months ahead.

“Until then support local businesses if you can, socialise safely and make sure that while you enjoy yourself you also protect others.”

Stephen Montgomery, Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) president, also said: “The SLTA welcomes the reopening of our sector today, with the first phase, our beer gardens.

“We understand that there will be changes in place to reduce the spread of Covid-19 which we are sure customers will understand.

“We would encourage customers to keep to physical distancing measures and work with premises to ensure public health is maintained, including providing staff with contact details to support Test and Protect.”

Emma McClarkin, CEO of the Scottish Beer and Pub Association (SBPA), said: “Today marks an important milestone for the trade in Scotland.

“Being able to open their doors again and welcome customers back is something every pub has looked forward to since March.

“For those premises with outdoor space and are able to reopen, today is definitely a positive one. The majority however will be waiting until the 15th of July for the reopening of indoor areas and that date cannot come soon enough.

“Things will be a little different with added mitigation measures to help protect customers and ensure they feel safe, but they will still be the same places we all know and love.

“We all have a shared interest in continuing to suppress the virus and the pub sector is definitely ready to play our part in welcoming our customers back responsibly.”

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