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The sale of alcohol in Scotland will be banned in indoor bars, restaurants, and cafes for 16 days starting from Friday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.
Addressing the nation regarding the current upward trend in cases of coronavirus, the Scottish National Party leader explained that all hospitality venues must stop serving alcoholic drinks until 25 October at the earliest.
In addition to that, pubs and licensed cafes in five different areas of Scotland - Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Ayrshire and Arran, Lanarkshire, and Lothian and Forth Valley - must close to all but takeaway customers for more than two weeks.
However, cafes without a license to serve alcohol can remain open until 6pm in line with the rest of the country.
Sturgeon prefixed her address by reassuring citizens that this was not to be a return to full lockdown, but said that the evidence suggested that more measures were needed to fight the resurgence of the virus.
She said her government was to take 'difficult but important temporary measures to stem the increase in cases'.
"None of this is easy", she added.
Sturgeon went on to explain that Scotland had seen a rise of 1,054 new cases in the past 24 hours, which is 254 more than the previous day.
There are also currently 319 people in hospital with Covid-19, an increase of 57 on the previous day, and another person had died in the past day.
Last week, 20 people lost their lives as a result of the coronavirus.
Sturgeon said: "We are particularly concerned about Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire & Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley... however, numbers are rising across Scotland.
"So the need to act - and to act across the country - is clear. What is also clear is the need to take additional action now.
"Without action - and this is perhaps the starkest warning in today's evidence paper - we are likely to return to the peak level of infections we had in the Spring by the end of this month."
As the central belt of Scotland is the area of greatest concern, Sturgeon also outlined some other precautions that people should take, including avoiding public transport unless 'absolutely necessary' and staying in their local areas as much as possible.
She explained: "Test & Protect is now bearing a lot of the strain of controlling the virus.
"We are not going back into lockdown today. We are not closing schools, colleges or universities.
"We are not halting the remobilisation of the NHS for non-Covid care, and we are not asking people to stay at home."
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