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Omicron restrictions take effect


By David Porter

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Temporary measures to limit the spread of the Omicron variant whilst the accelerated booster vaccination programme takes effect have come into force.

From 5am yesterday (December 26), attendance at large events has been limited to:

100 people for indoor standing events

200 people for indoor seated events

500 people for all outdoor events (seated or standing)

Taking effect from 5am this morning (December 27), one metre physical distancing has been reinstated in all hospitality and indoor leisure settings including pubs, restaurants, gyms, theatres and museums amongst others.

Table service is also required in settings where alcohol is served for consumption on the premises.

Nightclubs are also to close for a period of at least three weeks from December 27 however they will have the option of remaining open if they operate with table service and physical distancing, in line with the requirements for other hospitality businesses.

All of the temporary measures are to be reviewed after three weeks on Tuesday, January 11.

The restrictions are backed by £375 million in business support with full details to be announced shortly, following discussions with business organisations and local authorities.

Hospitality businesses are already eligible for top up funding through the December and January Business Top Up.

Further guidance has also been published to support businesses to take reasonable measures to limit the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said: “These temporary restrictions are targeted at reducing the spread of Omicron while the accelerated vaccination programme takes effect.

“I understand how difficult this has been for businesses in recent weeks but we must reduce our contacts and limit the spread of the virus.

"We’re providing £375 million in business support, which is a significant investment, to support those who have experienced cancellations and help them get back on their feet in the new year.

“The best way to support business sustainably, is to get the virus back under control.

"Please get your boosters and stay at home as much as possible just now.”


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