Nicola Sturgeon lifts Covid lockdown in Aberdeen after cases spiked in bars and restaurants

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Nicola Sturgeon is lifting some of Aberdeen’s lockdown restrictions from midnight, just 18 days after pubs and restaurants were forced to close.

Pubs and restaurants were ordered to close after a spike in coronavirus cases were linked to bars and nightlife in the city.

Restrictions were placed on travel and visits to other households as Aberdeen was put back into lockdown on August 5, after coronavirus cases doubled in 24 hours. 

Two Aberdeen football players were amongst those who tested positive for coronavirus amid the spike of infections, after flouting team rules to go to a bar on August 1. 

The Soul Bar, which the players had attended, was identified at being at the centre of a cluster of coronavirus cases in Aberdeen, leading Scotland’s First Minister to extend the lockdown in the middle of August. 

Nicola Sturgeon is lifting some of Aberdeen's lockdown restrictions from midnight, which will see the five-mile restriction on non-essential travel and the ban on indoor gatherings end

Nicola Sturgeon is lifting some of Aberdeen’s lockdown restrictions from midnight, which will see the five-mile restriction on non-essential travel and the ban on indoor gatherings end

Latest figures show a total of 427 cases were identified in the Grampian Health Board area since 26 July, with 259 of these cases being associated with the cluster linked to Aberdeen pubs. 

But from Monday, the five-mile restriction on non-essential travel and the ban on indoor gatherings will end in a partial lifting of lockdown regulations, the BBC reported.

Limitations on hospital and care homes will also be lifted and businesses in line with the national route map, excluding hospitality businesses, will reopen. 

Hospitality businesses will instead be allowed to reopen from Wednesday, with the reopening of pubs, cafes and restaurants subject to environmental health checks.

Owners of hospitality firms are also urged to contact Aberdeen City Council if they have not already undergone an environmental health check. 

The Scottish Government, Aberdeen City Council, NHS Grampian and Police Scotland were involved in talks across Sunday. 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: ‘It’s due to the commitment of people in the city, as well as world-class contact tracing that means we are now able to lift some of these measures from Monday and then again from Wednesday, but it is vitally important that everyone follows the FACTS rules in order to prevent an outbreak of this scale occurring again.’ 

FACTS is an acronym to increase public awareness in Scotland about vital ways to curb the spread of coronavirus.

It reminds people to wear face coverings, avoid crowded places, clean hands frequently, maintain two-metre social distancing and self-isolate if necessary. 

Eight Aberdeen football players had to self-isolate earlier this month as two players tested positive for coronavirus after flouting team rules to go to Soul Bar (venue pictured)

Eight Aberdeen football players had to self-isolate earlier this month as two players tested positive for coronavirus after flouting team rules to go to Soul Bar (venue pictured) 

Hospitality businesses will be allowed to reopen from Wednesday, with the reopening of pubs, cafes and restaurants subject to environmental health checks

Hospitality businesses will be allowed to reopen from Wednesday, with the reopening of pubs, cafes and restaurants subject to environmental health checks

Susan Webb, director of Public Health for NHS Grampian, urged people to continue observing physical distancing to ‘ensure the progress we have made is maintained’. 

This comes after Aberdeen football players caused fury after flouting team rules to dine at the city’s Soul bar on August 1.

Eight players were put into self isolation after one player tested positive for Covid-19 and it was later established a second player had also caught it – but both were asymptomatic at the time. 

The Scottish Government was said to be ‘disappointed’ in eight Aberdeen football players at the time. 

Soul Bar was later identified as being at the centre of a cluster in the Granite City, with Ms Sturgeon saying pictures of busy bars ‘made her want to cry’. 

At the time, a spokesman from Holyrood told the Evening Express: ‘The Scottish Government is disappointed by the actions of these individuals who have put at risk the return of professional football in Scotland.

‘This was a clear breach of the rules that were put in place by the SFA, the SPFL and the Scottish Government.

‘As this outbreaks highlights, it’s imperative that these strict protocols are diligently followed in order to ensure the continued safe resumption of the sport.’

Players had been permitted to stay in close contact with each other, on the condition they remain in their bubble.

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