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Updated COVID-19 Omicron Guidance

Wed 22 Dec 21

Latest from the Scottish Government

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has given a statement to the Scottish Parliament (21 December). You can read the full statement on the Scottish Government website.

What does it mean for businesses?

From Sunday 26 December inclusive for a period of three weeks, attendance at live public events – as opposed to private life events such as weddings and funerals – will be restricted.

Indoor standing events will be limited to 100 people, indoor seated events to 200 people and outdoor events will have a maximum capacity of 500. Physical distancing of one metre will be required at events that go ahead within these limits.

This will mean large scale Hogmanay events, such as in Edinburgh, will not proceed.

The First Minister explained the much higher transmissibility of the variant meant these gatherings have the potential to be “rapid super spreader events”, adding this would cut travel risk to and from the event and ease the burden on public services, particularly the police and ambulances.

It was also confirmed hospitality and some public places would also see additional protections from Monday 27 December for three weeks.

In this period, a requirement for table service only in premises serving alcohol will be re-introduced and there is to be one metre distancing between groups of people from a maximum of three households. The one metre distance is not within, but between groups of people who are attending together.

The First Minister went on to say that the Scottish Government will allocate an additional £100 million in addition to what’s already been announced, giving a total of £375 million support for businesses. More information on the allocation of funds will follow in due course - read the latest now.

What does it mean for the general public?

There is no change to the advice for Christmas set out last week; family gatherings on Christmas Day and Boxing Day can go ahead. People are being advised to keep gatherings as small as family circumstances allow and to ensure everyone does a test shortly before getting together.

Between now and Christmas Day, it is advised to limit contact with people in other households as much as possible. Minimise socialising with others, either at home or in indoor public places. Indeed, stay at home as much as is feasible.

From 27 December – and at least until the end of the first week in January when it will be reviewed – people should go back to limiting contacts as much as possible. This does not apply to private life events such as weddings.

The core advice is to reduce socialising and stay at home as much as feasible. If going out of the house, people should maintain physical distancing from those not within their group.

UK Government announcement

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak has today announced that additional support will be available for businesses who have been impacted by the Omicron variant.

Government will cover the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for COVID-related absences for small and medium-sized employers across the UK.

Businesses with fewer than 250 employees will be able to apply for reimbursement for the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for COVID-related absences, for up to two weeks per employee. Firms will be eligible for the scheme from today and they will be able to make claims retrospectively from mid-January.

There is also a 12.5% reduced rate of VAT for hospitality and tourism to support the cash flow and viability of around 150,000 businesses and protect over 2.4 million jobs, until the end of March 2022.

Read the full announcement from the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak.

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