The Scottish government has confirmed its hospitality industry reopening date, but has pushed back the announcement of any change in the outdoor service or distancing guidelines.

In its tourism and hospitality sector guidance published yesterday, the government reaffirmed 15 July as its reopening date, and provided businesses with a risk assessment, operational guide and checklist to help them navigate the relaunch.

Although the guidance came into effect upon publication, all planning procedures are determined by two-metre distancing, and the first minister Nicola Sturgeon had said an announcement on any change in the rule is unlikely to be within the next two weeks.

The Scottish government has also pushed back any announcement on the opening of outdoor areas in pubs and restaurants ahead of time, and has said it will not be able to confirm any change in this until 2 July, two weeks later than planned.

“It is heartening to have the Scottish government’s guidance, and the clarity they bring for businesses,” said Willie Macleod, UK Hospitality executive director for Scotland. “They should provide an end to many of the uncertainties which have persisted over recent weeks for businesses that have been hit very hard by this crisis, and allow planning to get underway for re-opening.

“The importance of the hospitality sector to Scotland’s economy cannot be denied. Hospitality is the mainstay of the country’s tourism industry and plays a vital role socially as well as economically. Re-opening will be critical in helping the country get back up and running.

“We must have continued sector-specific support from both the UK and Scottish Governments. We are pleased to see that social distancing measures will be reviewed also. Reducing the minimum distance required, if it is safe to do so, would be a huge bonus for businesses as they look to reopen.”