Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that the country’s clubs will remain closed until at least 24th January, in an attempt to help curb the spread of the Omicron variant.
Yesterday’s announcement confirmed that restrictions on large outdoor events would be lifted from Monday, while restrictions on indoor venues will remain in place for at least another week after that date.
After an announcement on Boxing Day, clubs in Scotland were forced to shut on 27th December, after reopening on 9th August 2021.
With the news of the closures, the Scottish government promised a grant of up to £55,000 would be made available for affected venues, but nightclub owners have criticised the slow rollout of financial support.
Gavin Stevenson, vice-chairman of the Night Time Industries Association Scotland (NTIAS), told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme, "As of today not a single penny of the funds promised before Christmas have reached businesses. It is putting businesses in an incredibly difficult situation."
A recent Covid report by the Scottish government revealed that average daily cases in Scotland were higher than in England despite having more Covid restrictions. The Sunday Times reported that Jason Leitch, Scotland’s National Clinical Director, said that closing nightclubs had made little difference to infection rates in the country.
Sturgeon, however, insisted that the restrictions had "helped to mitigate to some extent the impact of the Omicron wave.” She said, "It is very likely that the situation we face now, though serious, would have been even more challenging without the renewed sacrifices made by people across the country over these last few weeks."