PUBS and restaurants in Aberdeen will shut from 5pm TONIGHT after dozens of fresh coronavirus cases.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the new restrictions on Aberdeen after new coronavirus cases were linked to 20 pubs and restaurants in the area.
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All indoor and outdoor hospitality venues will close tonight after 54 new coronavirus cases have been linked to a cluster in the city.
The group of new cases has been traced back to the Hawthorn Bar in Aberdeen’s city centre but 20 other licensed venues have also been linked to the outbreak.
191 close contacts have already been told to self isolate by the Test & Trace system – but Ms Sturgeon said she expected that number to rise further.
The rule not to travel further than five miles away from your home has also been reinstated in the Aberdeen City Council area and residents have been told not visit each other in houses.
Single adult households who have joined up in a “support bubble” with another household can continue to visit.
Ms Sturgeon also told people not to travel to Aberdeen.
The new rules in Aberdeen are far tougher than local lockdowns in Greater Manchester and parts of northern England – where people are no longer allowed to visit indoors, but can still head to the pub.
There were 64 new cases of the virus Scotland wide.
Nicola Sturgeon announced today:
- Pubs, restaurants and cafes in Aberdeen would close from 5pm
- The 5-mile travel restriction would be reinstated
- People should not visit each other inside homes
- Residents can still travel for work and school
She said this lunchtime: “So, a precautionary and careful judgement is that we need to take decisive action now – difficult though that undoubtedly is – in order to try and contain this outbreak and prevent further harm later on.”
“This high number of cases certainly heightens our concern that we are dealing with a significant outbreak in Aberdeen that may involve some community transmission.”
“Now, the main link identified in this cluster has been the Hawthorn Bar in Aberdeen city centre, however more detailed analysis by NHS Grampian and Test & Protect has shown that this one venue does not account for all of the positive cases.”
The First Minister said changes will be reviewed every seven days starting next Wednesday when she hopes the restrictions could be removed either entirely or partially.
Staff suddenly out of work will be able to be re-furloughed under the job retention scheme.
The harsh restrictions could be extended to parts of Aberdeenshire if they need to be, Ms Sturgeon said.
It comes days before all kids are set to go back to school in Scotland on August 11.
Ms Sturgeon said she took the decision after being “struck” by comments from the Children’s Commissioner for England Anne Longfield demanding schools should be allowed to open at all costs – even if it means shutting pubs.
She said:”As I said earlier, this is also about doing everything we can to ensure our children can return to school next week.”
“Aberdeen schools are holding orientation sessions next Wednesday, with schools due to open fully the following Monday, 17th August.”
“Acting now, we judge, gives us the time and space to protect the ability of our young people to return to education.”
Ms Sturgeon said the decision to close hospitality venues was “not taken lightly” but “extreme caution” was necessary to tackle any growth in coronavirus cases.
She said: “I’m also mindful of the need to act quickly and decisively if we are to succeed in our aim of keeping transmission as close to elimination levels as possible.”
Local MP Stephen Flynn tweeted following the announcement: “Restrictions being put back in place in Aberdeen is what we all feared.
“However, they are an absolute necessity in order to protect public health.
“Everyone must adhere to the guidance being put in place by the First Minister today.”
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