Sturgeon: Cut socialising and limit gatherings to just three households before Xmas

14 December 2021, 14:22 | Updated: 14 December 2021, 16:17

By Emma Soteriou

Nicola Sturgeon has asked the Scottish public to cut socialising and limit gatherings to just three households before Christmas.

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She said the request would not be legally enforced, adding that although most of the changes were guidance, "please do not think of it as optional".

Ms Sturgeon also confirmed that Christmas Day would not be cancelled, but urged people to be careful.

Setting out the guidance, Ms Sturgeon said: "Turning to Christmas Day specifically, or Christmas Eve or Boxing Day or whenever you have your main family celebration, we are not asking you to cancel or change your plans, and we are not proposing limits on the size of household gatherings."

She added: "My key request today is this: before and immediately after Christmas, please minimise your social mixing with other households as much as you can.

"However, if you do plan on socialising, either at home or in indoor public places, we are asking that you limit the number of households represented in your group to a maximum of three. And make sure you test before you go."

Read more: 'Community transmission' of Omicron variant in Scotland

Read more: People turned away from appointments in Scotland booster jab “shambles”

Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement ahead of the festive period.
Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement ahead of the festive period. Picture: Scottish Parliament TV

Other changes to the Covid rules include:

  • Working from home becoming a legal requirement.
  • Businesses will need to "return to the kind of protections in place at the start of the pandemic" to avoid crowding, such as physical distancing and table service in bars.
  • No more than two people on hospital visits.
  • Care home visits should be limited to two households.

Booster jabs will be prioritised going forward, with the First Minister saying "additional capacity will start to become available over the next few days and over the course of this week in the form of extra centres and, where necessary and appropriate, at mass vaccination centres and additional appointments at existing centres".

Schools are expected to remain open "if at all possible" to limit any further disruption to pupils' education, with new guidance set to be issued later in the week.

Ms Sturgeon said she would like to go even further with restrictions but was limited due to lack of financial support.

It comes as MPs are debating the introduction of 'Plan B' measures in England, with a vote set to take place in the Commons on Tuesday evening.