Nicola Sturgeon has announced the new “targeted” measures that will be in place to stop the spread of Covid-19 in Scotland.

The First Minister laid out her plans in a statement to Scottish Parliament this afternoon as she looks to slow down the virus.

More than 3.4 million people in Scotland will experience some of the harshest measures with pubs and restaurants closed for at least the next three weekends

For 16 days from Friday, pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes can operate indoors from 6am to 6pm for food and non-alcoholic drinks.

In the central belt, all licensed premises will be closed completely.

The new restrictions come following a continued rise in COVID cases across the country, with the First Minister admitting that “none this is easy” and “none of these decisions are taken lightly”.

Here’s what you need to know:

Hospitality industry - Central belt

Because of higher levels of infection in the central belt, the Scottish Government 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.

Cafes which don’t have an alcohol license will be able to stay open until 6pm to support social isolation.

The Scottish Government will offer financial compensation of £40m to the businesses impacted by these decisions. 

Hospitality industry - outside of Central belt

Pubs, restaurants, cafes and bars 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.

Cafes which don’t have an alcohol license will be able to stay open until 6pm to support social isolation.

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

Can I meet a friend in a cafe?

Yes but the restrictions will be strictly applied. And all the current regulations and the limits on meeting a maximum of 6 people from 2 households will still apply.

Nicola Sturgeon said:“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.”

Can I get married?

Yes, you can still get married. 

Can I go to outdoor live events?

In the central belt outdoor live events will not be permitted in Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire & Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley for the next two weeks.

Can I play sports?

In the central belt, snooker and pool halls, indoor bowling alleys, casinos and bingo halls will be closed from the 10th of October.

Contact sports for people aged 18 and over will also be suspended for the next two weeks with an exception for professional sports.

Can I go to the gym?

Indoor group exercise activities will not be allowed - although the current rules will remain in place for under 18s and gyms can remain open for individual exercise.

Can I still go on holiday?

Nicola Sturgeon has said that people shouldn’t cancel any half-term breaks that they have planned but is advising not to travel outside of your health board region if you don’t need to. 

People in other health board areas should not travel to Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire & Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley unless they need to.

Can I go on public transport?

The first minister says that although there are not any mandatory travel restrictions, people in the central belt should not travel outside their local area and others shouldn't visit there "unless they need to".

Will schools stay open?

Nicola Sturgeon stated that the Scottish Government is not proposing to close schools.

She said: “Apart from the October holidays which are already planned - we are not proposing to close schools either wholly or even partially.”


Is this a return to lockdown?

The First Minister stated that the Scottish Government would not be proposing another lockdown at this stage, not even a temporary one.

Is there a nationwide travel ban?

Nicola Sturgeon said that there are no plans for a nationwide travel ban, however this wasn’t ruled out for hotspots in the country.

Will the hospitals and doctors stay open?

The First Minister said that the NHS will stay open for conditions that aren’t related to Covid-19.

She said on Tuesday: “We are not about to halt the remobilisation of the NHS - it is vital that our National Health Service is there for non COVID conditions as well as there for everything we have to deal with in relation to COVID.”

What if I’m shielding?

The first minister says the government is not recommending that people who shielded over the summer should return to staying completely indoors.

They should take more care, however, especially in the Central Belt.

Scotland recorded the highest number of daily cases since pandemic began today.

One new death has been announced in Scotland overnight from Covid-19 as 1,054 new positive cases were announced today.

The Scottish Government announced that 319 patients are currently being treated for confirmed coronavirus in hospitals in Scotland.