pub coronavirus scotland
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Pubs in Glasgow and Central Belt must close from Friday while rest in Scotland banned from selling booze
PUBS and restaurants across Scotland have been banned from selling booze and must close at 6pm from Friday - with a 16-day shutdown in the Central Belt.

Nicola Sturgeon set out fresh lockdown restrictions during a coronavirus briefing today.

The booze clampdown will be in place from 6pm on October 9 until October 25.

In the Central Belt - Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire & Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley - pubs and restaurants must fully close due to higher infection rates.

But in other parts of Scotland, pubs, restaurants and cafes can open - with licenced premises also allowed to serve alcohol outdoors in settings such as beer gardens.

Ms Sturgeon said she is "accutely aware lives and jobs are at stake" as she announced the new lockdown regulations.

Speaking in Holyrood, she said: "The measures are intended to be in force for 16 days, from Friday at 6pm to Sunday 25 October inclusive - in other words across the next two weeks and three weekends.

"So, firstly, with the exception of the five health board areas I will talk about shortly - pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes will be able to operate
indoors on the following very restricted basis only:

"During the day, from 6am to 6pm, for the service of food and non- alcoholic drinks only.

"Hotel restaurants will be able to operate beyond 6pm, but only for residents and without alcohol.

"The reason we are not closing indoor hospitality completely is that we know the benefits, in terms of reducing loneliness and isolation, of giving
people - particularly those who live alone - somewhere they can meet a friend for a coffee and a chat.

Comment: How considerate. Although Sturgeon's continued lockdowns will only worsen the dire situation for businesses and, ultimately, lead to an explosion in mental health issues and most likely a soaring suicide rate.

"However, because of higher levels of infection in the central belt, we are introducing stricter restrictions in the following five health board areas -
Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire & Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley.

"In these areas, all licensed premises - with the exception of hotels for residents - will be required to close indoors and outdoors, though
takeaways will be permitted."

The announcement of the strict hospitality restrictions comes as Scotland saw its biggest ever spike in coronavirus cases overnight.

Another 1,054 positive tests were recorded in the past 24 hours - with 34,760 cases registered north of the border since the pandemic started.

A total of 410 positive tests were confirmed in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 190 in Lothian, and 195 in Lanarkshire.

Meanwhile, another 67 people have caught the bug in Ayrshire and Arran, and an additional 42 cases were confirmed in the Tayside area.

Ms Sturgeon said the pub closures reflect a "difficult but important temporary measures to stem the increase in cases" of coronavirus.

Comment: So they admit this is about detected cases, not deaths nor hospital admissions. The tests are widely accepted to be inaccurate and, even if they were, it's the equivalent of shutting down the country and destroying the economy because of a mild flu.

The SNP supremo argued that different age groups mixing in boozers and alcohol affecting people's "willingness" to adhere to social distancing made the new restrictions necessary.

She said: "I know that the vast majority of pubs, bars and restaurants have worked exceptionally hard over the last few months to ensure the safety of their staff and customers.

"I am grateful to them for that.

"However the evidence paper published today sets out why these settings present a particular risk.

"The R number seems to have risen above 1 approximately three weeks after the hospitality sector opened up.

"We know that more than 1/5 of people contacted by test and trace, report having visited a hospitality setting.

"That makes sense from what we know about how the virus is spread.

"Indoor environments, where different households from different age groups can mix, inevitably present a risk of transmission.

"That risk can be increased, in some hospitality premises, if good ventilation is difficult, and if it is hard to control the movement of people.

"And the presence of alcohol can of course affect people's willingness to physically distance.

"For all of these reasons, significantly restricting licensed premises for sixteen days temporarily removes one of the key opportunities the virus has to jump from household to household. It is an essential part of our efforts to get the R number significantly below 1.

But a new £40million fund will be made available to support businesses that will be affected by these measures over the next two weeks.

Comment: The amount the economy will lose due to this and the other lockdown measures will far surpass that meagre fund.

For the remainder of October, pubs and restaurants can also use the UK Government's job retention scheme.

Comment: And what about after October?

Ms Sturgeon said: "We will work with the affected sectors - especially hospitality - in the coming days to ensure that this money provides the most help, to those who most need it."

For a full list of the new restrictions put in place today - including face masks and self-isolating, click here.