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People testing positive for Covid in Scotland can cut their self-isolation from 10 to seven days now if they have no fever and record two negative lateral flow tests.
The change took effect from midnight after yesterday’s announcement by the First Minister, bringing Scotland into line with England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
No other changes will be made to Scotland’s virus restrictions for at least another six days.
The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) says the reduced isolation period is good news for its industry.
Close contacts of positive cases will now no longer need to self-isolate but will be required to take a lateral flow test every day for seven days if they are fully vaccinated, including the booster.
SLTA managing director Colin Wilkinson said: ‘This will help relieve the pressure on staffing issues in the licensed hospitality industry – we have heard from some of our members that 30 per cent of their staff are having to self-isolate while some premises have had to shut down completely as they have insufficient staff levels.
“This change has already been made in England, Wales and Northern Ireland so it makes sense for Scotland to follow the same path.’
Mr Wilkinson said the association also hoped that current restrictions, including table service and one-metre physical distancing between groups of customers in premises serving alcohol, plus the limits on events will be lifted on January 17.
‘Our priority now is to ensure that the £66 million aid package announced before Christmas for hospitality reaches those businesses that need it most as quickly as possible with pubs, bars and restaurants prioritised over cafes, takeaways and multinational fast-food outlets which have not experienced the same devasting loss of business that the licensed hospitality sector has.
‘We also need to ascertain what the Scottish Government’s plans are for the additional funds since made available and who will be eligible,’ added Mr Wilkinson.
SLTA is also urging the First Minister to outline details of the new road map for dealing with Covid-19 as soon as possible to help businesses plan for the next few months.