Coronavirus in Scotland: Thousands of Scots businesses still await chance to reopen

Owners of gyms have not yet been told when their businesses will be allowed to open.Owners of gyms have not yet been told when their businesses will be allowed to open.
Owners of gyms have not yet been told when their businesses will be allowed to open.
While many businesses are beginning to open their doors across Scotland, others still do not know when they will be allowed to start trading again.

Nightclubs, theatres and gyms, as well as bowling alleys, bingo halls and ice rinks, have been told they must stay closed until further notice. Live events such as concerts and gigs have also not yet been given the go-ahead.

Meanwhile, community centres and youth centres also have to stay shut, unless they are hosting “essential voluntary or public services”, such as food banks, homeless services, and blood donation sessions.

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Yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon said that next week may not see any further relaxing of the restrictions in a bid to keep cases low, so that schools can open in August – and in order that the need for people with serious underlying medical conditions to shield can be lifted on 31 July.

In England, ice rinks, gyms and bowling alleys have been given the green light to open by 1 August, but north of the border, they have to remain closed.

In a press conference yesterday, she said: “These two aims are really important priorities and, to be frank, they are only achievable if levels of Covid in the community remain very low.

"We cannot leave restrictions in place for longer than we judge to be necessary, but I did want to flag up now that it is possible we may not be able to make any changes next week beyond confirming the return of schooling and a pause in shielding.

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"And so for those businesses who are still waiting for a date to restart, I want to thank you for your ongoing patience. I fully understand how difficult any further delay is for you. I also hope you understand why we need to act safely and cautiously and prioritise the reopening of schools."

In Scotland, pubs and restaurants, as well as hair and beauty salons, have now been able to open – sparking anger from business owners who believe their activities are lower risk than some of those which have already been allowed to re-start.

Edinburgh-based pilates studio Reform Studios wrote on Twitter: “We can now attend a gym in Spain and fly home without quarantine, but yet we can’t welcome our clients with social distancing measures in place. Where is the science to show a greater risk in our venue?”

Musicians and artists took to social media to express their disappointment over the Scottish Government’s move.

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Harpist Rachel Hair said: “I’m really concerned that still things aren’t moving at all and no idea when things will improve.”

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