Following its earlier article about households and eating out in Stornoway, has been sent the following release by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar which we publish in full.

The Council says:

"We have received a number of complaints about licensed premises in the town area in recent days.  Please be aware of what your responsibilities are when operating your premises during the Coronavirus pandemic.

  • Only people from one household can sit together without the required distancing – 2m or 1m depending upon your opening permission.
  • If there are different households sitting together, each household must be socially distanced at either 2m or 1m apart depending on the permission under which your premises are operating.  

If a group of people come in all around the same age it is highly unlikely that they will all be from the same household unless they are visitors on holiday and living in the same self-catering accommodation or workers on a construction site who are living in the same accommodation.  Please be mindful of this and ask them.   Different households must be seated either 2m or 1m apart at all times.  As licence holder you have a duty to ask them if they are in fact part of the same household.  The recent spikes of coronavirus cases seen on the mainland have been linked back to licensed premises and people not socially distancing and resulted in a localised lockdown in Aberdeen – we do not want to see the same happening in our islands.


Physical distancing duties are set out in regulation 4(1) of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020. A person who is responsible for carrying on a business or providing a service must take all reasonable measures:

  • to ensure that a distance of at least 2 metres is maintained between any persons on the premises (except between two members of the same household, or a carer and the person assisted by the carer)
  • to ensure that they only admit people to the premises in sufficiently small numbers to make it possible to maintain that distance
  • to ensure that a distance of at least two metres is maintained between any person waiting to enter the premises (except between two members of the same household or a carer and the person assisted by the carer)

This guidance does not supersede any legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment or equalities and it is important that, as a business or an employer, you continue to comply with your existing obligations, including those relating to individuals with protected characteristics.

Hospitality Guidance is available at please read through this and note the 1m zone mitigation measures are listed here.

Test and Protect

Please ensure that you are recording customers details and staff on duty as part of the Test and Protect procedures.  Records must be kept for 21 days


If using menus please ensure that menus are either single use or cleaned down appropriately between households, do not hand the same menu to different tables without cleaning and disinfecting.

We are all aware that re-opening has been a difficult experience for everyone. With all the guidelines it can be confusing at times, however we need to all try and work together to ensure as safe an environment as possible for the health and wellbeing of your staff, yourselves and your customers going forward.  Should the service receive any further complaints we will follow these up directly with each premises, we may also carry out spot checks to ensure that businesses are being compliant.

We all need to play our part in trying to minimise the risk to people.  If customers are not obeying the premises rules you are entitled to ask them to leave or refuse them entry.