THE First Minister on Thursday set out new rules and tightened restrictions across Scotland in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus

During her daily briefing, Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that Scotland would not be moving into Phase 4 of the route-map out of lockdown, adding that we are likely to remain in the third phase "for some time". 

Localised lockdowns are already in place in parts of the West of Scotland, with the First Minister announcing a further clampdown following a recent spike of cases. 

New restrictions, with exceptions, mean social gatherings should not exceed more than six people from two separate households. This applies indoors as well as outdoors.

But Ms Sturgeon also outlined changes to the way we can visit pubs and restaurants.

Here are the changes: 

For customers visiting pubs and restauraunts, bookings indoors and outdoors will no longer accept groups of more than six people from two households at one time - this also applies to beer gardens. 

It is also now mandatory for hospitality customers across Scotland to wear face coverings when moving around and visiting the toilet. They only do not have to wear one when consuming food and drink.

However, the same exemptions to wearing masks for certain groups will remain. 

Hospitality staff will now have to follow similar rules to retail staff. 

When does this come into force?

The new rules will take place from Monday, September 14 - however people are encouraged to follow the guidance from now. 

What has the First Minister said?

Nicola Sturgeon said: “I am asking people to abide by these stricter new limits on gatherings immediately.

“In recent weeks, we have reopened significant parts of our economy. People are meeting up more, going out more, and travelling more. All of that is positive.

“But as we released ourselves from lockdown, we also released the virus. Rather than the threat to public health receding, the pandemic is accelerating again - albeit, and thankfully, from a low base and not as rapidly.

“The hospitality industry has put a lot of effort into creating safe spaces for people to meet. We hope that reducing the risk of transmission in hospitality settings through the use of face coverings and reducing group numbers will help keep the sector open.

“Unfortunately, the route map changes that had been given an indicative date of Monday, conditional on the progress of the epidemic, must be paused for a further three weeks. I must stress this remains an indicative date and a final decision can only be taken nearer the time.

“It is important we don’t lose sight of the objective to keep infection levels as low as possible. It is not a virus anyone should be relaxed about getting.

“I know that after six long, hard months, we are still asking the public to make a lot of difficult sacrifices. That is unavoidable, given the nature of the challenge we face. However, I want to be clear that while we still face a battle to get and keep COVID under control, we are in a stronger position than earlier in the year.”