Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the limit of 500 people at outdoor events will be lifted in Scotland from Monday, 17 January.

The easing of Covid-19 restrictions will allow fans to return to Scottish Premiership football matches next week, while Six Nations fixtures at the 67,000-capacity Murrayfield Stadium (pictured) will go ahead with full attendance in February.

Scotland’s venues were forced to close from Boxing Day under restrictions that capped crowd limits at 200 for seated events and 100 for standing shows. There was also a one-metre social distancing rule in place for all events.

The first minister said the Covid-19 certification scheme will still be in place but organisers of events of 1,000 or more people should check the certification status of at least 50% of attendees rather than the current 20%.

Attendees of Scottish events will also have to show a proof of booster vaccination from Monday if their second dose was more than four months ago.

Sturgeon confirmed it will still be possible to attend events and venues covered by the certification scheme by providing proof of a recent negative lateral flow test.

Sturgeon said, “I hope this will allow us to lift the other protective measures limits on indoor live events, table service and hospitality, and distancing in indoor public places from 24 January.”

In a statement, the Night Time Industries Association Scotland (NTIAS) urged the government to commit to a full reopening without any further restrictions.

The association said it is “disappointing” that Sturgeon has extended the period of restrictions beyond the original date of 17 January as the emerging data has shown a “positive downward trend in hospitalisation and serious health outcomes”.

NTIAS also raised concerns about the fact Sturgeon has suggested an extension of the vaccine passport scheme to include other venues: “As recent data from the four nations has demonstrated, and as the national clinical director has already admitted, additional restrictions in Scotland have had little impact on case rates but have had a serious impact on Scottish businesses and jobs.”

The NTIAS said it is concerning that the majority of funding has gone to sectors other than hospitality: “The funding already committed by Scottish Government to enable businesses to retain and pay staff wages over the festive period must now be expedited at speed as the ability of employers to fund payroll from their existing cashflow is seriously at risk, along with the jobs supported by these businesses.

“Furthermore, we call on Scottish Government to now urgently release all remaining unallocated funding to compensate Scottish nightlife and hospitality businesses for the disproportionate restrictions currently in place, and commit to a full reopening without any further restrictions.”

The government said a further update will be given on 17 January as to whether there will be any changes to the plans from 24 January to remove attendance limits on indoor events, social distancing and table service pending a review of data by Ministers.