Pubs, bars and restaurants in Scotland will be able to serve alcohol indoors from 17 May after First Minister for Scotland Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that mainland Scotland, and some islands, would be moving into level two on that date.

The relaxation in restrictions will see six people from up to three different households meet in an indoor public place like a café, pub or restaurant, while eight people from eight different households will be able to meet outdoors.

Hospitality venues will be able to indoor indoors until 10.30pm (they can currently only open indoors until 8pm), with two-hour pre-booked slots, and outdoors within local licensing conditions for the consumption of food and alcoholic drinks. However nightclubs must still remain closed.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive, British Beer & Pub Association, said the announcement was expected but “very much welcomed”. “Since a partial reopening on 26 April Scotland’s pubs and bars which could utilise outdoor spaces have given it a real go, but ultimately the weather and the restriction to alcohol service indoors has made trading viably a real difficulty.

“The recommencement of indoor service from Monday will give a real boost to the country’s hospitality sector and operators are looking forward to welcoming customers back again safely.”

McClarkin added that a full start to the recovery was still someway off with the ongoing curfew having a devastating effect on many premises.

“The First Minister must look at removing the curfew as soon as possible, and at the very least, in time for the country moving to Level 1 in early June. With no further economic support and trading extremely difficult, we run the risk of businesses failing just before the recovery begins,” she said.