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Scottish restaurants and pubs breaking covid-19 rules face closure under new emergency powers

Article Date: 2020-08-21

Scottish restaurants and pubs that fail to observe strict covid-19 restrictions aimed at suppressing the virus face being shut down under new emergency laws, first minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

It comes after 77 new cases were recorded in Scotland on Wednesday (19 August) – a three-month high – and the SNP leader admitted there are growing concerns over local outbreaks in Aberdeen and Coupar Angus, as well as in schools.

The outbreak in Aberdeen was linked to the reopening of pubs just over a month ago and Sturgeon told MSPs at Holyrood she is concerned about the small number of pubs failing to observe rules on collecting customer contact details and enforcing social distancing.

She said: “We therefore intend to strengthen the power of local authorities to act in these circumstances. The Scottish government has powers under emergency legislation to issue directions in respect of a class of premises – for example, to close all pubs in a particular postcode.

We intend to give local authorities the power to act in respect of individual, specific premises that are breaching guidelines and risking transmission of the virus. This power would enable local authorities either to close such premises – or to impose conditions on their opening – where they deem that is necessary for the purpose of preventing, protecting against, or controlling the spread of infection.”

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