STRICT new rules are coming into force in Scotland’s hospitality sector today in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

Pubs and restaurants are now required by law to collect customers’ contact details to help Test and Protect teams in their work to contain the pandemic.

It comes following fears that overcrowded venues helped spark an outbreak in Aberdeen, forcing the city back into local lockdown.

What are the changes?

  • Every pub and restaurant has to take contact details of their customer.
  • Tables should be pre-booked and customer queuing should be avoided.
  • There should be no background music and TVs should be muted to reduce the need for people to be shouting or leaning close to one another.
  • No more than three households should meet in a group at one time.
  • Any staff wearing face shields/visors will also have to wear an additional covering.

When do the changes come into force?

The new rules are to be implemented from today – Friday, August 14.

What has the First Minister said?

Speaking last week, Nicola Sturgeon said: “To say that the incident in Aberdeen is deeply regrettable is an understatement.

“But it underlines an extremely important point: any time one of us fails to abide by the rules, we put others at risk and give this virus the chance to come roaring back.

“That’s something which we simply cannot afford to do. We’ve seen – every day of this outbreak – how easily COVID-19 can spread.

“Many of these measures should already be in place as part of the guidance, but in order to keep the sector open – safely – we are now placing them in law.

“We are the frontline in making sure that Covid doesn’t spread, and so we all need to keep doing the right things.”

What other rules have changed?

Last week Ms Sturgeon also changed the rules around face coverings in other situations.

Now, they must be worn in the following:

  • Takeaway restaurants
  • Estate agents
  • Beauty parlours
  • Aquariums/indoor zoos/visitor farms/indoor heritage site
  • Banks/building societies/credit unions
  • Cinemas
  • Community centres
  • Crematoriums and funeral directors
  • Libraries and public reading rooms
  • Museums and galleries
  • Places of worship
  • Post offices
  • Storage and distribution facilities, including collection and drop off