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COVID restrictions on indoor settings to be reduced

Restrictions placed on indoor hospitality venues since Boxing Day are to be lifted from Monday, January.

This announcement came this Tuesday afternoon from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who updated the Scottish Parliament on the spread of COVID-19 and the impact of the Omicron variant.

According to Ms Sturgeon, Scotland has “turned a corner” when it comes to the threat of Omicron, and is now able to move to the next phase of reducing restrictions to pre-Boxing Day levels.

This means that measures reducing numbers at indoor events and curbing social interaction within hospitality venues will be lifted from next Monday, including the table service only mandate for pubs.

Although the vaccine certification scheme will remain in force for large indoor and outdoor events, it will not be introduced into smaller hospitality venues at this time.

“The latest data gives us confidence that we have turned a corner on the Omicron wave,” said Ms Sturgeon, who said that a rise in hospital admissions during the past week was expected to be followed by a drop in the next.

She added: This allows us to say with some confidence that the rise of Omicron peaked in the first week of January and we are now on a downward slope.”

Ms Sturgeon has placed the success of measures curbing post-Christmas infection down to compliance by the public at large and a willingness to get the booster vaccine as soon as eligible.

Next Monday will also see Scotland dispense with guidance limiting social mixing to three households at one time — but the First Minister has urged the nation to remain cautious. She has asked everyone to continue lateral flow testing on a regular basis, and to register the result of these online. The wearing of face coverings remains mandatory in shops and other business setting, except for certain medical exemptions.

Workers across Scotland have also been urged, once more, to carry out their duties from home — if possible.

PCR tests are now required if you develop symptoms and:

  • Have not already received a positive lateral flow test.
  • You fall into the extremely clinically vulnerable category 
  • An isolation grant is required 

If you test positive on a lateral flow test and do not fall into any of the above, you should immediately begin isolating and record your result online.

This can be done by visiting https://www.nhsinform.scot/campaigns/coronavirus-covid-19-report-your-test-result 

Self-isolation guidance can be found on https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19/test-and-protect/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-individuals-with-possible-coronavirus-infection. 

Lateral flow tests can be collected locally from community pharmacies or ordered online via https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests 

If you require a PCR test you do not need to call, you can simply arrive at the drive through testing centre (old Macmillan unit at the old Balfour). If you do not drive, you can call 0300 303 9545 for further assistance. The timetable for the testing centre can be found via https://www.ohb.scot.nhs.uk/news/community-testing-service-update-procedure-15-november-2021.