SOME £21 million of funding has been allocated to the events sector as the new Omicron variant spreading across the country causes cancellations.

As part of its £100m pledge made last week, the Scottish Government announced on Wednesday that Creative Scotland would administer two funds; one worth £10.2m for cultural organisations and venues, and another £8m cancellation fund for freelancers in the creative industry.

EventScotland will also administer a £2.8m fund to benefit the wider events supply chain.

The cancellation fund will provide payments of between £500 and £2000 to those eligible and will open for applications on January 6, while details for the other funds will be made available early in the new year.

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On Tuesday, Nicola Sturgeon announced some fresh restrictions on hospitality and events businesses due to come into force on Boxing Day.

From that date, there will be a maximum outdoor attendance of 500 – which effectively cancelled major Hogmanay celebrations – a limit of 100 people for a standing indoor event and 200 for seated indoor events.

Culture Secretary Angus Robertson said: “Culture and events continue to be among the sectors hardest hit by Covid-19 as the emergence of a new variant is once again causing disruption and uncertainty.

“The steps we’re asking the public to take to minimise the spread of the virus are having a severe financial impact on the sector at a time when they were just beginning to recover from previous waves of the coronavirus.

“In the past few weeks, both myself and culture minister Jenny Gilruth have been speaking to freelancers and representatives from culture and events organisations to ensure they get immediate support to meet their needs.

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“This £21 million in additional funding is vital to support culture and events organisations and protect the livelihoods of the people who work in the sector.”

Iain Munro, chief executive of Creative Scotland, said: The Covid-19 rollercoaster seems never-ending but we will work hard with the sector to pull together again and overcome the challenges that this new wave of the pandemic presents to ensure we are able to gather in cultural spaces to enjoy Scotland’s rich, diverse and world-renowned art and creativity, and to celebrate all that they bring to our lives, in so many different ways.”