In a statement to the Scottish Parliament today, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon advised of a further slowing down of the easing of restrictions. She confirmed that there would be no changes to the current COVID-19 Protection Levels and also cautioned that it was unlikely any part of Scotland would move down a Level at next week’s review. This will consider possible changes from 28 June onwards.
It had been previously hoped the country would move to Level 0, but Ms Sturgeon warned that it was more likely that current restrictions would be kept in place for a further three weeks to give more time for people to be fully vaccinated. She also said any changes that can be made safely within the Levels will be considered.
The Scottish Government intends to publish two pieces of work next week – both of which will look ahead to the restoration of a much greater degree of normality. The first of these will be a paper setting out what life will look like beyond Level 0, when all or virtually all restrictions can be lifted at some point over the summer. The second will be the publication of the outcome of the governmental review on physical distancing.
The physical distancing review – and the fact that continuing 2-metre restrictions are preventing so many visitor attractions from operating viably – is a key issue for our sector, and one on which ASVA has been lobbying for change; we have been making a robust case for distancing restrictions at attractions to be reduced to 1-metre in line with the hospitality sector.
Commenting on today’s announcement by the First Minister, ASVA Chief Executive Gordon Morrison said: “Whilst it is encouraging to hear that we will be given a clear steer next week on what beyond Level 0 will look like, as well as the publication of the hugely important review of physical distancing measures, the news about a further delay in easing of restrictions presents considerable challenges for our highly seasonal industry.
“As it stands, attractions across the country are facing up to ongoing prohibitive restrictions – such as 2-metre physical distancing – well into the summer season, which means that many will not be able to operate at an economically viable level and will not be able to build vital reserves for the winter. Further financial support for the sector is therefore now essential to ensure that our world-class visitor attractions will be ready and able to lead the full recovery of Scottish tourism in 2022.”
The full statement made by the First Minister today can be read here.