Covid restrictions for pubs, restaurants, nightclubs, football matches and major events from Boxing Day


Nicola Sturgeon today announced new restrictions in Scotland in a bid to tackle the Omicron variant over the coming weeks.

A further 5,242 cases of Covid have been identified in Scotland in the past 24 hours. About 62.9% of infections come from the mutant strain of the virus.

Guidance on gatherings around and on Christmas Day is expected to remain the same, but a number of changes are expected to come into effect from Boxing Day.

This will impact our outings to pubs, restaurants and major events – such as football matches, theater visits and Hogmanay events.

Nicola Sturgeon said the measures were ‘necessary’ in an address to MSPs earlier today

New restrictions will remain in place for up to three weeks, the Scottish government has confirmed.

Sturgeon said the measures are “necessary” to slow the spread of the virus over the holiday season.

“Holding on to all of this is really difficult, but there’s no doubt it will help keep you safer,” the prime minister said in a speech earlier today.

Here’s how the restrictions will affect these venues and events from Boxing Day and beyond.

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Pubs and restaurants

Pubs and restaurants will have to operate under a table service-only policy from December 27

Hospitality venues that serve alcohol will be required to operate under a table service-only policy from December 27 under the new rules.

Social distancing rules of one meter will also be applied between groups of people.

The Scottish Government also advises that groups should contain no more than three households.

Football games

Large crowds will not be allowed at football matches from Boxing Day

Only 500 people will be allowed to attend a seated or standing outdoor event in Scotland from Boxing Day.

Nicola Sturgeon said this means sporting events, such as football, will be without spectators for up to three weeks from then.

Football matches that can take place with the limited number of fans must have a one meter rule on social distancing.

Big events

New limits will also be placed on a series of major events in Scotland from Boxing Day.

Indoor standing events will be limited to 100 and indoor seated events will be limited to 200. The figures for outdoor events, such as football matches, are 500.

Once again, social distancing rules will be in place at venues that will continue to hold events with spectators.

This means major events, such as Edinburgh’s annual Hogmanay event, will be cancelled.


Nightclubs are defined as an ‘indoor standing event’ so will be limited to a crowd of 100 from Boxing Day

According to Scottish Government rules, clubbers will have to keep a social distance of one meter inside venues.

Further guidelines are expected to be issued soon by the government.

Non-professional sport

Non-professional contact sports that take place indoors will also be banned from Boxing Day.

Sturgeon said physical distancing is not possible during these activities and also creates an “increased risk of transmission.”


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