Covid in Fife: Latest lifting of restrictions welcomed
Restrictions including one metre physical distancing in hospitality and leisure settings; table service in hospitality venues and attendance limits at indoor events have been in place since Boxing Day, but First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced in a parliamentary briefing on Tuesday that these would be removed from 5am this coming Monday.
Non-professional indoor contact sports will also resume and nightclubs can reopen.
The lifting of the restrictions will come as a relief to many in the hospitality and leisure sectors who have continued to face challenges in recent months due to the pandemic.
Following the announcement, Fife Sports and Leisure Trust has said it will be re-introducing services such as indoor adult contact sports like five-a-side football and removing lane swimming for public swimming sessions from next week.
However, customers are advised some measures including the wearing of face masks and hand sanitising stations will remain.
Emma Walker, chief executive of the trust, said: “The move to near normal operations is very welcome and we look forward to welcoming customers back to the programmes and facilities they enjoyed prior to Scottish Government restrictions put in place due to the spread of Omicron.
"The announcement comes as we have launched our Get Moving challenge for 2022 which is proving very popular with a range of customers looking to get healthy or meet a personal goal for the year ahead.
“We would appeal to customers to continue to support their local leisure centre – in light of the pandemic and associated closures, the trust is working hard to recover, and the support of local communities is important for the long-term sustainability of the organisation.”
Fife Cultural Trust, the organisation responsible for running the Kingdom’s libraries, galleries, museums and theatres has also welcomed the changes in restrictions.
Marcus Kenyon, chief operating officer for OnFife, said: “We’re looking at our risk assessments and policies right now so we can relax some of the measures, such as time restrictions and social distancing, from next Monday and start bringing more activities back to our libraries from the week beginning January 31.
"For our theatres, this is also a really positive step forward and means we can start talking with promoters again about getting shows back on stage.
"However, we do have to bear in mind that people are still struggling with Covid.
"It continues to affect our staffing capacity which in turn impacts on our operations.
"But we are really looking forward to our venues being more welcoming again and to engaging more fully with our communities.”
After having to reschedule shows due to the closures, the team at the Alhambra Theatre in Dunfermline are looking forward to opening their doors again next week.
In a post on social media, the theatre said: “Johnny Cash Roadshow (28th January), Nina Conti (29th January) and Gordon Buchanan (30th January) will all go ahead as planned. All shows from February onwards will go ahead as planned. We cannot wait to welcome you back through our doors! Now let’s get our Centenary year started.”