Pubs, restaurants and cafes in Scotland must refrain from serving alcohol indoors for at least two weeks in an attempt to curb a spike in new coronavirus cases.
Starting next weekend, venues will only be allowed to open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. (0500-1700 GMT) and, in addition to food, they will only be able to offer non-alcoholic drinks.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said in Edinburgh on Wednesday.
Outdoor licensed venues will be able to continue serving alcohol until the current 10 p.m. curfew starts.
The rules initially apply for a limited time until Oct. 25, and are aimed at pushing down the rapidly increasing number of coronavirus cases in Scotland.
“Let me be clear: We are not going back into lockdown today. We are not closing schools, colleges or universities, and we are not asking people to stay at home,’’Sturgeon said.
“So while the measures I announce today will feel like a backward step, they are in the interests of protecting our progress overall,’’ she added.
On Wednesday, the country recorded 1,054 new cases within the past 24 hours, according to Scottish government’s figures.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Scotland has recorded 34,760 cases of infection with the coronavirus and over 2,500 deaths.
Sturgeon warned that if no actions were taken, Scotland risked returning to the peak level of infection by the end of the month.
In the five worst-hit regions, all licensed venues must close completely during the period.