New legislation for hospitality businesses has been announced by the Scottish Government following an outbreak of coronavirus in Aberdeen.
The new laws are being brought in to ensure guidelines that were already in place for the industry are enforced at all venues.
Tables will now need to be pre-booked if possible, with no queuing, and there should be no background music or volume on televisions to stop people having to raise their voices.
It will also be made mandatory to collect contact details of customers in a range of hospitality and public settings.
With the change to legislation coming on August 14, venues in Aberdeen city will also be affected, though precise dates will depend on whether local lockdown restrictions are lifted at the first opportunity on Wednesday.
Mike Wilson, owner of the Epic Group which runs several city venues, said: “Everything that’s mentioned, we complied with previously.
“The only disappointing thing is the lack of any music at all, and I think some venues will question the viability of that.
“I think people visiting venues where there is traditionally music being played might find it a bit hard to swallow, but it is what it is.
“I think the licensed trade in Aberdeen has largely supported the criteria, and I don’t see any reason why this would be any different.
“I think it’ll be welcomed by the trade. If that’s what we’ve got to do to keep trading and keep people safe then then that should be good.”
He emphasised that most bars would already be following the guidelines, adding: “Booking systems are easy to put in place, and preventing queues, hopefully police will give a hand with that one.
“You’ve just got to adhere to the rules, if everyone sticks by the rules you won’t have any problems.
“That’s the bottom line. The most important thing is getting kids back in school, and things like that.”
More immediately, it was announced that as of today, face coverings would be made mandatory in more indoor places around Scotland.
Members of the public will be required to wear a mask or equivalent in places such as cinemas, galleries, museums and banks.
The Scottish Government said the new rules cover “any premises open to members of the public and used for the retail sale or hire of goods or services”.
Other spaces falling under this category include aquariums, indoor zoos or visitor farms; building societies and credit unions; community centres; crematoriums and funeral directors premises; libraries and public reading rooms; post offices; and storage and distribution facilities, including collection and drop-off points.
It does not extend to hospitality premises such as sit-in cafes and restaurants.
Those in places of worship will also be required to wear a face covering – though the Church of Scotland has noted on its website that worship leaders will be exempt from wearing one while leading worship.
Nurul Hoque Ali, secretary of Aberdeen Mosque and Islamic Centre, said people coming into the mosque were already required to wear a face covering.
He said: “It’s not affected us at all.
“The only slight difference is the imam used to wear a visor, and I saw at lunchtime that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon suggested that was under review and they didn’t feel it was as protective as a face mask.
“I noticed today he was wearing a face mask, so that’s the only small change – we’ll just continue to comply with government guidance.”
Ms Sturgeon said a common factor in the rise in new coronavirus outbreaks across the world – including the Aberdeen cluster – is the hospitality sector, and settings such as pubs and restaurants are particularly susceptible to the virus.
She said the majority of such premises across Scotland have been complying with the guidance to note customers contact details, but some have not.
She said: “I now intend to make it mandatory for a range of settings, including hospitality businesses, to collect customer details.”
Placing compliance on a “statutory footing”, Ms Sturgeon said, will help ensure test and protect can function as effectively as possible.
She said Police Scotland will enforce the measures if necessary.
Of the 43 new cases across Scotland in the past 24 hours, provisional figures indicate more than half, 27, were in the Grampian health board area, she added.
Ms Sturgeon said five cases were in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board, down from the 17 in that location which sparked concern on Thursday.
A total of 18,890 people have now tested positive for the virus.
No patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus for 22 consecutive days, with the death toll remaining at 2,491.
Ms Sturgeon said 262 people are in hospital with confirmed Covid-19, down eight in 24 hours. Of these, four are in intensive care – which is no change from the previous day.