SNP ministers have made £25 million available for businesses at high risk of Coid transmission to improve ventilation.
Grants will target a range of high-risk settings where people come into close contact, including restaurants, bars and gyms.
Support will be awarded to help companies install carbon dioxide monitors and altering windows and vents.
An expert advice group, chaired by Professor Tim Sharpe from the University of Strathclyde, unanimously recommended that businesses should be supported to improve ventilation. The group was set up in August to advise how enhanced ventilation can help reduce transmission of the virus.
Announcing the funding, Nicola Sturgeon said: “As we step away from other mitigations, improved ventilation will play a significant role in reducing transmission indoors, support the sustained opening of society and contribute to our wider Covid recovery.
“Many of the businesses we are targeting have been closed for long periods and it is right that they are helped to undertake this work. We are allocating up to £25 million to assist small and medium-sized enterprises and expect to begin making payments in November.
“The package will initially target higher risk sectors where people spend significant amounts of time in close proximity to each other, such as hospitality and leisure, and will make indoor settings safer, especially through the winter months.”
Business leaders have welcomed the extra funding to help improve ventilation.
Andrew McRae, the Federation of Small Business’s Scotland policy chair, said: “As the weather gets colder, it is becoming more impractical not to mention expensive for smaller firms to keep doors and windows open.
“Therefore, we warmly welcome new grant funding to help smaller Scottish businesses improve their ventilation, which will help them keep their staff and customers safe.”