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Coronavirus / Very few complaints over social distancing compliance in pubs, environmental health says

THERE have been “very few complaints” over social distancing not being followed in Shetland’s pubs, according to the team leader of the council’s environmental health department.

David Robertson said, however, that “immediate action” would be taken where necessary to ensure compliance.

Pubs in Scotland were allowed to reopen in mid-July and if extra measures are implemented they are able to impose a one metre social distancing rule instead of the general two metres.

The rules state that people from different households in pubs must stay at least one metre apart – something which, anecdotally at least, does not always appear to be happening.

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon this week reminded businesses in the hospitality sector that they could be shut down if outbreaks are linked to the industry.

She said the guidelines “aren’t just for the first few weeks” and must become “the norm”.

Highlands and Islands MSP Maree Todd added that the hospitality sector “bears an important role in ensuring the virus stays suppressed to low-levels in the islands and across Scotland, and this is why strict hygiene measures and contact tracing is absolutely vital”.

Environmental health team leader at Shetland Islands Council David Robertson said on Thursday that the “majority of establishments in Shetland appear to be applying the necessary social distancing measures to reduce the risk of infection”.

“It is landlords and their staff who are responsible for managing this and they also rely on their customers to be responsible and comply with social distancing measures,” Robertson said.

“We have so far received very few complaints relating to local pubs but we will take immediate action where necessary to ensure compliance.”

The environmental health department is the body which would investigate any social distancing breaches in pubs if reported, and it would take action where necessary.

Shetland, meanwhile, continues to have 54 cumulative recorded confirmed cases of coronavirus – a number unchanged since April.