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Scotland to lift restrictions on large outdoor events next week

As of Monday 17 January, the 500-attendee limit for large outdoor events in Scotland will be lifted. 

Currently, a limit of 500 attendees to outdoor events is in place, but this will be scrapped, and no new limit has been announced.

The restriction was introduced in Scotland on Boxing Day 2021, in an attempt to stem the spread of the Omicron variant.

The lifting of restrictions comes with the condition that outdoor event planners must check the Covid status of attendees.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon said, “The Covid certification scheme will remain in place for those and other events and venues previously covered, but with two changes.

“Firstly, our guidance will now stipulate that the organisers of large events of 1,000 or more people should check the certification status of at least 50 per cent of attendees, rather than the current 20 per cent, or at least 1000 people – whichever figure is higher.

“And, second, from Monday the requirement to be ‘fully vaccinated’ for the purposes of Covid certification will include having a booster if the second dose was more than four months ago.

Sturgeon added that the restrictions on indoor events and venues will remain in place until 24 January.

These restrictions dictate only up to 100 people can attend an indoor standing event and up to 200 at an indoor seated event.

Indoor hospitality and leisure venues also have to maintain a one-metre distance between different groups of people, and table service is required where alcohol is served.

In addition to loosening restrictions on large outdoor events, Scotland’s tourism minister, Iven McKee announced a £9m financial package for the tourism sector.

UKinbound CEO, Joss Croft, said: “This is a vital lifeline for Scotland’s inbound tourism industry. We’re very pleased that the Scottish Government has recognised the devastating impact Omicron is having on the tourism industry and its supply chain, and is rolling out an additional £9 million financial package.

“In stark contrast, Westminster continues to leave the inbound tourism industry out in the cold, ignoring the crippling impact of international restrictions on inbound tour operators and the need for tailored financial support, which threatens the recovery of the UK’s fifth-largest export industry.”

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