Nicola Sturgeon has tightened Scotland’s COVID restrictions, laying out six changes that will be coming into effect beginning on Saturday
Subject to approval by Scotland’s parliament, the rules currently are:
- Click and collect shopping services will be limited to essential items such as baby equipment, clothing, and books
- Customers will no longer be allowed to collect takeaways from inside of restaurants, food will have to be handed over, using a doorway or a hatch
- It will now be illegal to drink any alcohol outside in public for all level 4 areas of the country
- Statutory guidance on working from home, anyone who worked from home during first lockdown should be doing so again
- Work within homes is now limited, by law, to the essential upkeep, maintenance or functioning of the home
- People may only leave home for essential purposes, and are not permitted stay out for any other reasons afterwards
This comes after the NHS is considering plans to discharge it’s patients into hotels as the nation’s hospitals become packed with COVID-19 patients, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has now confirmed, saying that it was “impossible to know” how long the nation-wide lockdown restrictions might last.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Don’t think in terms of the maximum interactions you can have without breaking the rules.
“Think instead about how you minimise your interactions to the bare essentials to remove as many opportunities as possible for the virus to spread.”
“In everything you do, assume that the virus is there with you – that either you have it or any person you are in contact with has it – and act in a way that prevents it passing between you.”
“All of this means staying at home except for genuinely essential purposes – including working from home whenever possible.”
“Except for essential purposes, do not have people from other households in your house and do not go into theirs.”
While the list of essential reasons for leaving home will not change, she said: “It does mean that if the police challenge you for being out of the house doing something that is not essential, it will not be a defence to say you initially left the house to do something that was essential.”
Between the 4th and the 10th of January, 384 fatalities were registered which mentioned the coronavirus on the death certificate, up 197 compared to the previous week.
These numbers differ from the lab-confirmed COVID-19 deaths announced daily by Scotland’s government because the National Records of Scotland figures include suspected, as well as probable cases of the novel coronavirus.
This comes after Prof Chris Whitty has urged the British public to minimise all unnecessary contact with other people. The next few weeks, before the rollout of vaccines nation-wide, will be the “most dangerous time” of the pandemic for the NHS, England’s chief medical officer has said.
Following the tightening of the click and collect services, Tracy Black, CBI Scotland director, said “click and collect is a lifeline to many businesses, particularly smaller firms” and that the new restrictions could cause some businesses to collapse.
“It’s really important that the Scottish Government sets out compelling evidence that these services are a source of transmission and provides additional, urgent support to compensate for what would be a further loss of revenue in increasingly challenging times,” she said.