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First Minister confirms indicative timeline for reopening tourism and hospitality

The First Minister has set out a timetable for the re-opening of parts of society over the next two months.

Stay at Home regulations will be lifted on 2 April and replaced with guidance to Stay Local, with more services including hairdressers, garden centres and non-essential click and collect services able to open from 5 April.

Key Date 26th April
  • Scotland to move to a modified level 3
  • The Scottish Government hopes to lift all restrictions on journeys in mainland Scotland
  • Tourism accommodation to open
  • Journeys between Scotland and the rest of the UK will be allowed as soon as possible on or after the 26th April
Discussions will be held with island communities already in lower levels on the possibility of having a faster return to more socialising and hospitality with restrictions on mainland travel to protect against importation of the virus.

Further expected easing on 26 April includes:

  • all retail premises, libraries, museums and galleries, tourist accommodation would be able to open
  • the hospitality sector would be able to reopen outdoors for the service of alcohol, and potentially open indoors for non-alcohol service
  • up to four people from two households could be able to socialise indoors in a public place such as a café or restaurant
  • six people from up to three households could be able to meet outdoors and the limit on wedding and funeral attendance could be raised to 50 people
  • gyms and swimming pools would be open for individual exercise and non-essential childcare would be permitted
  • non-essential work in peoples’ homes and driving lessons could resume from this date

On 17 May, it is hoped that groups of four people from two households would be able to socialise indoors in a private home, and that cinemas, amusement arcades and small scale outdoor and indoor events could restart with limits on capacity. Further easing on this date would include outdoor contact sport for adults and indoor group exercise

The First Minister also indicated that in early June it is hoped that Scotland could move to Level 1 and by end of June to level 0.

The First Minister also confirmed further funding grants to support businesses to restart.

  • FULL UPDATE here
WILD SCOTLAND RESPONSE Wild Scotland welcomes the very positive news today from the First Minister – especially in relation to the ease of travel restrictions and the opening up of all accommodation from the 26th April, this will be a massive relief to businesses in the wildlife, adventure and activity sector whom very much depend on the movement of visitors and have a reliance on accommodation being open. However, we fully appreciate that there are a number of businesses within the sector that will be facing another year of unviable operations due to conronavirus restrictions whether that be a reliance on international visitors or restrictions due to physical distancing and group sizes.  We continue to press these issues with the government – highlighting the desperate need for further funding support. 

Wild Scotland and Sail Scotland continue to lobby hard on your behalf and can confirm a further meeting is taking place with the Cabinet Secretary, Fergus Ewing on Monday 22nd March 2021.

Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said;

The First Minister’s announcement of an indicative timeline for the phased reopening of our tourism and hospitality sector will be massively welcomed by the sector today; it is the most positive news we have received in a long time.

The STA has been in discussion with the Scottish Government on almost a daily basis over the past few weeks to highlight the need for a clearer route out of lockdown to be given to tourism businesses and our supply chain, not only to allow for the necessary timeframe to plan for reopening, but to protect the many thousands of jobs which are at risk.

Today’s announcement will offer some very much needed light at the end of what has been the darkest tunnel for our industry.

One of the biggest challenges for tourism businesses has been the restrictions around travel throughout the country which will be removed as of 26th April allowing all tourist accommodation, cafes and restaurants the opportunity to open, 50 guests to attend weddings and our tourist attractions and adventure operators to start operating again.

The sector has been closed for the majority of the past year; every aspect of the route map announced this afternoon offers us a more solid pathway for securing and protecting jobs and the ability to plan for reopening in accordance with government guidelines, building consumer confidence that when visitors choose to return, it will be safe to do so.

Concern remains around the impact of the loss of our international market which will continue to be felt acutely by many sectors who are dependent on our global markets to trade viably, but it was encouraging to hear the First Minister to discussions set to take place with the travel industry and refer to a review of this mid-May.

It’s absolutely critical that continued tailored financial support, by way of grants is made available to those who won’t be in a position to open and trade viably until we move into the much lower tiers; the up-front restart will be very welcomed to assist with that outlay.

The detail announced today will I know come as a huge relief for so many and we look forward to posing further questions to the First Minister over the course of the coming days for an exclusive interview which will form part of the STA’s virtual conference programme on 24th March.

We hugely appreciate the level of consultation between the Scottish Government, the STA and our colleagues within the sectoral groups and their willingness to listen and respond favourably to the recommendations which have been presented.

We of course acknowledge that these dates are provisional and we are committed to working in a safe and professional manner to minimise risk and ensure that our tourism industry can play a key part in the rebuild and recovery of Scotland’s economy.”

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