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Coronavirus / Minimise Hogmanay socialising, first minister says

New limits on the capacity of events and tightened measures in hospitality venues – such as the return of table service – are announced

First minister Nicola Sturgeon. Photo: ScotGov

PEOPLE have been advised to minimise their Hogmanay celebrations in a bid to curb the spread of Covid – while new protective measures and limits are due to come into place for the events and hospitality sectors.

It comes as the spread of the Omicron variant continues across Scotland.

Speaking at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, first minister Nicola Sturgeon encouraged everyone to limit social contacts as much as they can from 27 December to at least the end of the first week of January.

She encouraged people stay at home as much as they can, and to minimise New Year celebrations.

Sturgeon described these measures as the “bedrock” of the Scottish Government’s plan for the immediate period ahead.

From Boxing Day, for a period of up to three weeks, there will also be limits on the size of public events in Scotland.

Indoor events such as concerts will be limited to 200 people if they are seated, or 100 for standing. Sturgeon said this does not affect “private life events” like weddings.

For events that do take place physical distancing of one metre will be required.

For outdoor events the capacity limit will be 500 people seated or standing.

From 27 December, also for a period of up to three weeks, there will be further protections required in hospitality venues.

This will include table service only in places which sell alcohol on premises.

“And we will also ask indoor hospitality and leisure venues to ensure one metre distance, not within, but between groups of people who are attending together,” Sturgeon said.

“We will continue to advise people that if they are attending indoor hospitality or leisure venues – and remember our core advice remains to minimise this – there should be no more than three households represented in any group.”

Shetland Arts said it is “currently looking into how best to transfer across to a socially distanced layout for cinema ticket holders” after Christmas, with the agency due to contact people with bookings from 27 December if there are changes.

In addition non-professional contact sports for adults will not be allowed from 26 December for up to three weeks due to the lack of physical distancing.

The first minister said “I know how unwelcome this will be for everyone – but we believe these precautionary steps will help us navigate a difficult period more safely”.

Extra funding will be made available to businesses affected by the new measures.

People are already asked to limit social contact with other households in the lead up to Christmas.

Sturgeon said people should continue with their plans for Christmas Day or Boxing Day – but folk are reminded to keep family celebrations as safe as possible.