Scotland reopens: rally call as pubs, gyms and shops welcome customers again
Retail and tourism chiefs have launched a rallying call to support businesses struggling to survive as Scotland reopens today in the biggest one-day easing of pandemic restrictions to date .
Mainland Scotland will enter Level 3 restrictions from today, with non-essential shops, gyms, museums and tourist accommodation allowed to reopen.
Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to serve food indoors until 8 p.m., and food and alcohol outdoors until licenses permit. The border with England will also reopen for non-essential travel.
Health chiefs have warned people not to ‘go crazy’ as restrictions ease, but chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith said last week he hoped the severe restrictions left on Monday would not return.
Business leaders have urged Scots to ‘think local’ and support shops and attractions close to home when they reopen.
Scotland’s Towns Partnership, the organization behind the Scotland Loves Local campaign, said the importance of Monday’s reopening for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses “cannot be underestimated”.
“By supporting local businesses – whether it’s when you shop or meet friends – you are helping to protect the jobs of those who live around you, protect stores and services, and make your community a great one. best place to live, ”said CEO Phil Prentice.
“The road to recovery from the coronavirus is going to be difficult. But we hope today can mark the start of a successful summer, both in terms of tackling the pandemic and rebounding businesses. Thinking local first – and safety first – will give the best chance of realizing these hopes. “
VisitScotland also called on Scots not to stray too far from home, encouraging ‘staycations’ and supporting local tourism.
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“It is clear that tourism has been one of the biggest economic victims of the pandemic,” said Malcolm Roughead, Managing Director of VisitScotland.
“We have had a year of very little investment, job losses and business closures – it will take time and significant investment to bring us back to a thriving industry.
“With the right support, tourism and events can drive economic recovery and stimulate foreign investment where it’s needed most, but to do that the industry needs the support of people living in Scotland in the first place.
“Many businesses are reopening after months of no business, and with staycations set to become popular again this year, there is a real opportunity for all of us to come together and show our support for local tourism.
“I urge everyone, if applicable and as directed, to visit restaurants you missed, explore tourist attractions, book a night, take the family for the day, discover a new place and make Scotland your vacation. of choice this year.
“It is only with this support that we can truly help tourism to rebound.”
The Scottish Government has released a new app to make it easier for businesses to register customer details for contact tracing purposes.
More than 6,400 properties have signed up for Check in Scotland, which allows customers to enter their contact details by scanning QR code posters or downloading the app to their phone.
All names, numbers and email addresses are stored in an encrypted data vault unique to each site for 21 days.
The app is designed to complement the separate Protect Scotland app, which alerts people if they have been in close contact with someone positive for Covid.
Alerts will be sent by text, email or letter depending on the information provided by users and ‘will be clearly marked as from NHS Scotland Test and Protect’.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Gregor Smith said: “As travel, retail and hospitality restrictions begin to ease and venues begin to reopen, it is critical that any close contact with new positive cases can be quickly contacted and advised to self-isolate.
“Check In Scotland is designed to give businesses an easy way to collect customer details for contact tracing purposes.
“It is completely voluntary and up to individual sites to decide which method they prefer to use to collect the required contact details.
“The sooner we can contact people who may have been exposed to Covid-19, the faster we can stop the spread of the virus and continue to move forward towards the return of daily activities.”
Dr Christine Tair-Burkard, an infection specialist at the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh, said she expected to see a ‘small increase’ in Covid cases as restrictions ease .
This will be exacerbated, she told the BBC’s Sunday Show, by a change in the way Scotland carries out Covid testing.
Starting today, rapid lateral flow tests will be available to anyone without symptoms twice a week, which should mean many more asymptomatic cases will be detected.
Dr Tait-Burkard is optimistic that further easing could be allowed from late June or early July, when more people have been vaccinated.
“We’ve always talked about the end of June, the beginning of July, and it’s probably not an unrealistic thought process,” she said.
“We expect every adult in the UK to have been offered the vaccine by the end of July. “Despite the supply issues and the change in those under 30 receiving different vaccines, this has not really changed.
‘This means that by the end of July 80 to 90 percent of people in the UK should probably be offered a vaccine, which should really help us reduce the number of cases and make life easier. much safer public.
“From July I think we can start to consider opening [public venues], possibly in lower numbers, obviously with mask restrictions still in place.
“Whether that involves things like a vaccination passport is another question.”