Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has welcomed news today that Scotland will move “beyond level zero” on Covid restrictions. Changes announced today by the First Minister mean that most restrictions on social distancing and on businesses will be removed next Monday, 9th August, but indoor mask wearing will still be mandated, along with Test and Protect registration in hospitality venues. Clubs and large venues will be allowed to reopen, many for the first time since the pandemic began.
The First Minister appeared to again reverse her government’s position on “vaccine passports” – centralised control of access to venues based on vaccination status – putting the plans back on the table after they were ruled out last week by minister John Swinney.
Commenting on the news, Mr Carmichael said:
“We are moving ‘beyond level zero’ which sounds a little like something that would break your calculator if you typed it in. Despite the slightly confusing wording the next step towards relaxing restrictions is good news for many, particularly in the tourism and hospitality trade.
“It is welcome that hospitality and other venues can be fully free to reopen with social distancing restrictions removed, other than indoor mask wearing. Exactly how happy clubbers shall be with wearing a mask while on the dance floor remains to be seen but I leave that question to be answered by others.
“My biggest concern is that once again the First Minister has flip-flopped on vaccine passports. Just last week John Swinney ruled them out but it appears that they are back on the table. We all know that this government loves centralisation but such a scheme would be a massive imposition on people and on businesses – instead of spinning the First Minister needs to rule them out for good.”