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Update: First Minister announcement, 3rd August

Posted: 3rd August 2021

From Monday the 9th August it has been confirmed that all of Scotland will move beyond level 0, resulting in the lifting of most remaining legal restrictions. This will include the removal of requirements for social distancing in most settings, meaning more capacity in pubs and restaurants and larger crowds at sporting events and concerts. All venues will be legally allowed to open.

Some legal restrictions will remain however, including the requirement for face coverings, which must be worn in all the same indoor settings as is the case now. Test and Protect will also continue, and indoor hospitality venues will still be required to collect customer data. Home working is still advised where possible, and employers are encouraged to continue using a hybrid model of working. Permission for large events (more than 5,000 outdoors and more than 2,000 people indoors) will still be required for a limited time, and clear guidance around measures such as hand washing and ventilation will be issued. There will also be guidance released around physical distancing, but this won’t be required by law.

There will also be changes to the rules around self-isolation, with those experiencing symptoms or having received a positive Covid test result still needing to self-isolate. However, from 9th August, we will be moving to a model of test and release for those who have been double vaccinated, and with a more targeted approach to isolation for close contacts amongst young people, in order to minimise disruption to schools. Self-isolation support will continue. The Government will retain the powers to put in place local and travel restrictions if necessary, and are considering the use of Covid ‘passports’ for high risk venues such as nightclubs.

You can read the full announcement here.

Responding to the statement delivered by the First Minister to the Scottish Parliament this afternoon on COVID-19 restrictions, Scottish Chambers of Commerce Chief Executive, Dr Liz Cameron said:

“The First Minister’s statement today will be largely welcomed by Scotland’s business community as we move towards the most significant lifting of restrictions on our economy since they were first imposed 17 months ago.

“The removal of physical distancing requirements and changes to self-isolation rules will have a major positive impact on all businesses. This will enable us to increase capacity, whilst removing the massive pressures on staff being forced to self-isolate due to close contact guidance which has left many businesses unable to fully operate if at all. These are both sensible, appropriate, and welcomed changes.

“Many businesses however believed that moving beyond the levels system would result in the removal of all restrictions, however some uncertainty remains as to mandating the continued use of face coverings in certain settings.

“Whilst ongoing restrictions will be subject to review, businesses need greater clarity now and will want to see clear end dates forthcoming to instil consumer confidence. Moving towards greater individual and business choice is vital and any measures remaining in place to mitigate and manage risk must be proportionate and appropriate.

“It’s vital that the vaccine and testing regime rollout continues at pace and that Scotland continues to make progress toward the complete lifting of all legal restrictions as soon as possible to enable businesses and the economy to start recovering.”

On the re-opening of offices, Liz Cameron said:

“Giving Scotland’s businesses the green-light for the phased return to offices is the news many have been waiting for and will lay a firm foundation towards securing economic recovery for our hard-hit town and city centre businesses, many of which rely on office employee footfall for custom.

“Many businesses, even before the pandemic, were in discussions with employees over moves towards potential hybrid models of working and increased flexibility generally. Business models have already changed due to the pandemic and will continue to evolve further as restrictions lift and this will ultimately come down the needs of business and employees.”

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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