Covid in Scotland: Crowd restrictions lifted for outdoor eventson January 17, 2022 at 12:08 am

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A limit of 500 people at outdoor events in Scotland has been removed and full crowds are now allowed at football matches.

celtic park

Image source, Getty Images

Large outdoor public events such as football matches can take place again after some of Scotland’s Covid restrictions were relaxed.

The Celtic vs Hibs match in Glasgow later will be the first test of revised rules which require the vaccine certification of at least 50% of attendees to be checked.

Restrictions on indoor sports, events and venues remain in place.

But Holyrood will be updated on Tuesday as to when these will be removed.

Nicola Sturgeon has previously said she is hopeful that the restrictions on indoor events can be lifted on 24 January.

As well as the changes to outdoor events, the definition of “fully vaccinated” for the purpose of vaccine passports has changed and now includes having a booster if the second dose was more than four months ago.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster told BBC Scotland that bringing the winter break forward for top-flight clubs to coincide with the three-week crowd restrictions was a gamble that had paid off.

About 60,000 fans are expected at Monday’s game.

He said: “Football really is nothing without the fans as we have seen with some games effectively played behind closed doors.

“It doesn’t work for anyone; financially for the clubs and from a fan point of view.

“I sincerely hope we have seen the back of these restrictions and look forward to the fans returning.”

bar worker

Image source, Getty Images

All outdoor events have been limited to just 500 people for the last three weeks as part of a raft of measures to help slow the spread of Omicron variant.

In recent days, a slowdown in infection rates has given experts “cause for optimism” that the country might be over the worse of the infection surge.

But the number of Covid patients in hospital remains high and staff shortages as a result of the pandemic are putting pressure on the NHS and social care services.

Update to Holyrood

The hospitality trade will be closely watching the first minister’s update to Holyrood on Tuesday.

Ms Sturgeon is expected to given an indication on when nightclubs will be able to reopen and when restrictions on hospitality venues – such as the need for table service and social distancing – will be relaxed.

The first minister may also give more detail on whether the vaccine passport scheme will be extended to more venues.

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