Scotland's pubs to reopen indoors 3 weeks before England (but without alcohol)

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James Morris
·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·3 min read
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Watch: Nicola Sturgeon says pubs will reopen indoors three weeks ahead of England

Nicola Sturgeon has announced pubs in Scotland will reopen indoors three weeks before England.

The first minister confirmed Scotland’s plans to reopen pubs, as well as cafes and restaurants, on 26 April – and made a point of comparing this to Boris Johnson’s 17 May target date for England.

She said at Tuesday's coronavirus briefing: “It’s worth noting, I think, that the restricted indoor opening of hospitality on the 26th will actually be three weeks ahead of any indoor opening of hospitality in England.”

However, there are a number of differences between the two countries’ pub reopening plans, including the sale of alcohol. Here, Yahoo News UK breaks them down…

Indoors

In Scotland, as Sturgeon confirmed, pubs will reopen indoors on 26 April, though this will be on a “restricted basis”.

These restrictions include an 8pm closing time and no alcohol, with a maximum of four people from up to two households allowed to gather.

Watch: Nicola Sturgeon sets out plans for NHS ‘remobilisation’ after coronavirus

It will only be on 17 May – the same date as England – where pubs will be allowed to serve alcohol indoors.

Meanwhile, customers will only be allowed to visit in two-hour time slots, and the pubs must close by 10.30pm.

In England, as it stands, pubs will reopen on 17 May with no government-imposed curfew. Alcohol will be allowed with a maximum of six people, or two households, able to gather.

Outdoors

Customers enjoy drinks at tables outside the pubs and bars in the Soho area of London, on April 12, 2021 as coronavirus restrictions are eased across the country in step two of the government's roadmap out of England's third national lockdown. - Britons on Monday toasted a significant easing of coronavirus restrictions, with early morning pints -- and much-needed haircuts -- as the country took a tentative step towards the resumption of normal life. Businesses including non-essential retail, gyms, salons and outdoor hospitality were all able to open for the first time in months in the second step of the government's roadmap out of lockdown. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Drinkers in Soho, London, on Monday, as pubs reopened for outdoor service. (Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images)

In England, pubs reopened for outdoor service on Monday, with no curfew and no requirement for alcohol to be served with substantial meals such as scotch eggs.

In Scotland, pubs have not reopened outdoors yet. 

That will happen on the same 26 April date as the indoor reopening, with alcohol permitted outdoors although venues will be forced to close at 10pm.

'Acceleration'

Scotland's First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), Nicola Sturgeon wearing a protective face covering to combat the spread of the coronavirus, during a campaign visit to Whitelee Wind Farm near Eaglesham in Scotland on April 9, 2021, ahead of the upcoming Scottish Parliament election which is to be held on May 6, 2021. (Photo by RUSSELL CHEYNE / POOL / AFP) (Photo by RUSSELL CHEYNE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Nicola Sturgeon (Russell Cheyne/AFP via Getty Images)

While Sturgeon confirmed the reopening of pubs will happen as planned on 26 April, she also accelerated aspects of Scotland's timetable out of lockdown.

The first minister has brought forward the easing of travel restrictions around Scotland, meaning people will be able to leave their local authority area from Friday for the purposes of socialising, recreation or exercise.

Rules on gatherings will also be relaxed, with six adults from up to six households able to meet up outside.

Read more:

'No social distancing, no masks': Anger and joy as Soho streets packed with revellers after lockdown eases

‘They do not work’: COVID expert’s warning over face shields as pubs and salons reopen

Sturgeon cited a reduction in prevalence of the virus, following a seven-month low in cases – 199 – on Monday.

Boris Johnson, on the other hand, said on Tuesday that “at the moment I can’t see any reason for us to change the road map, to deviate from the targets that we have set ourselves”.

The Westminster government is planning to drop all restrictions on social contact in England on 21 June at the earliest.

Watch: How England is leaving lockdown