The Scottish Government has made some updates to the guidance pages this afternoon (11th September) and further updates will be made as necessary. The FAQ seeks to cover some key questions on the new limits for gatherings – note below for quick reference.
Q: The limit for groups meeting up (indoors and outdoors) is now a maximum of 6 people from 2 different households, with children under 12 exempt. What do I need to do as a business to ensure this rule is being followed properly?
A: This is now a legal requirement and every individual must follow the rules. As a business you should ensure your booking system is arranged so that it does not accept bookings that exceed these numbers. A simple step is to ensure staff who are taking calls for bookings are asking the right questions, including – is everyone from not more than 2 households? Are there any children under 12 from the same 2 households as these do not count towards the 6? Businesses should not accept bookings from groups that are clearly exceeding the limit.
Q: Can I take a booking for a birthday party where children from multiple households who are all under 12 will be there given they are exempt?
A: No, children under 12 are exempt from the maximum of 6 number but not from the maximum of 2 households – it must always be no more than 2 households regardless of the number of children under 12.
Q: I have forward bookings for groups of more than 6 people from 2 different households – what should I do?
A: It is the responsibility of individuals in the first instance to ensure they are following the rules so those who have made the booking should be in touch to discuss alternatives. If not you should review your bookings and where necessary make contact to discuss alternatives. Businesses cannot accept bookings above the limits so will need to be proactive in engaging clients to avoid situations where guests present in groups above the limits. This may mean a cancellation but may also be a rebooking for numbers that comply with the new rules. This will avoid difficult situations on arrival if no action has been taken as it will not be possible to accommodate groups who present for service who are above the limits.
Q: Is this law or guidance?
A: From 14 September, this is the law
Q: What are the penalties, if any?
A: See this guidance on compliance and penalties (note it is still to be updated with new limits on numbers meeting).
Q: Can 2 households come from England, or just one?
A: It is the law in Scotland that applies, regardless of the origin of the traveller, so a maximum of 6 people from 2 households.
Q: What is the definition of an extended household?
A: Members of an extended household are considered to be one household for the legal requirements on meeting other households and going outside. If, for example, two adults are in a relationship and they do not live together they, and any children they each live with, can agree to form an ‘extended household group’. Everyone in the extended household will be able to act, and will be treated, as if they live in one household – meaning they can spend time together inside each other’s homes and not need to stay at least 2 metres apart.
The ASSC is liaising closely with the Scottish Government and will continue to keep you updated as and when anything changes.