Scotland bans visits to other households from Friday

22 September 2020, 14:51 | Updated: 22 September 2020, 20:44

By Maddie Goodfellow

Nicola Sturgeon has announced that a nationwide ban on visiting other households will come into effect in Scotland from Friday.

Visits will officially be banned from Friday, however the First Minister has asked people to comply from tomorrow.

Outdoor meet ups and visits to pubs will be limited to six people from two households.

"We intend, as Northern Ireland did yesterday, to also introduce nationwide additional restrictions on household gatherings, similar to those already in place in the west of Scotland," she said.

The First Minister explained that data suggests this measure has reduced the spread of the virus in the west of Scotland and extending it to the rest of the country will hopefully reduce transmission.

Ms Sturgeon explained that there will be exceptions and those living alone will be able to meet in other's homes for extended households, couples not living together, those who need childcare and tradespeople will be exempt from the measures.

During a statement made on Tuesday evening, Ms Sturgeon said: "The last six months have been unprecedented.

"They've been the hardest many of us have ever lived through.

"But through our collective efforts across Scotland, we did beat Covid back.

"As a result - although too much heartbreak has been endured and too many families are grieving - many lives were also saved.

"But as we enter winter, and with many lockdown restrictions now thankfully lifted, the challenge is once again getting harder."

She added: "Now, for everyone, adults and children, I know that today must feel like a step backwards.

"But please know that thanks to all your efforts over the last six months, we are in a much stronger position than in the spring.

"Cases are rising but less rapidly than back then.

"Our Test and Protect system is working well - tracing contacts and breaking chains of transmission.

"We have much more information on how and where the virus spreads.

"We know what we need to do to protect ourselves and others - and all of us have a part to play."

The changes only impact meeting in people's homes, with regulations for outdoor and public indoor meetings remaining the same.

However, the First Minister announced children under 12 will be exempt from the limit of six people from two households when meeting outside and those between 12 and 18 will be able to meet a limit of six others from six households outdoors.

Addressing teenagers specifically, the First Minister said: "I know how miserable this is for you and you have been so patient.

"We are trying to give you as much flexibility as we can. In return, please work with us and do your best to stick to the rules, for everyone's sake."

Workers in Scotland have also been asked to continue to work from home if they can. Ms Sturgeon told employers who have encouraged people back into the office to "rethink that".

She added that if there is non-compliance from employers, then the Scottish Government may impose a "legal duty" on businesses to allow home working.

A media campaign will also be launched north of the border, the First Minister said, to urge compliance with public hygiene guidance from members of the public.

It comes just hours after Boris Johnson announced furter restrictions for England.

The prime minister said face masks would become compulsory for bar staff, shop workers, waiters and taxi drivers.

He also said fines for failing to wear a face mask would rise to £200 and will be extended to customers when they are not seated at a table.

Reflecting Boris Johnson's earlier announcement on measures, a 10pm curfew will be put in place for hospitality businesses in Scotland, Ms Sturgeon announced.

Ms Sturgeon said that the Scottish Government was seeking to strike a balance between reducing the spread of the virus and safeguarding jobs in the industry.

Further resources will also be given to environmental health officials to step up enforcement and inspections to ensure that social distancing and other hygiene guidance were being adhered to.

Ms Sturgeon said: "This decision today means we can reduce the amount of time people are able to spend in licensed premises, thereby curtailing the spread of the virus while still allowing businesses to trade and provide jobs."

"This is the best balance for now."

Addressing reports that measures in Scotland could be in place for up to six months, the First Minister said she hoped that would not be the case.

She told MSPs: "It is certainly the case, until scientific developments such as a vaccine change the game in the battle against Covid-19, it will have an impact on our lives.

"That doesn't necessarily mean that all of the new restrictions I am announcing today will be in place for six months.

"By acting early and substantially, our hope is that these new measures will be in place for a shorter period than would be the case if we waited longer to act."

The new measures put in place for Scotland will be reviewed every three weeks, the First Minister said.

She also pleaded with Scots to follow new coronavirus restrictions put in place north of the border.

Announcing new measures, the First Minister implored people to "stick with this".

She said: "Keeping to all these rules isn't easy - but they remain the best way for all of us to protect ourselves, each other, the NHS and ultimately save lives."

The First Minister added: "All of this is incredibly tough - and six months on it only gets tougher.

"Though it doesn't feel like this now, this pandemic will pass.

"It won't last forever and one day, hopefully soon, we will be looking back on it, not living through it."

Confirmed coronavirus cases in Scotland have risen by 383 in the past 24 hours, the Scottish Government has announced.

A total of 25,009 people have now tested positive for coronavirus in Scotland.

This is 7.6 per cent of newly-tested individuals, up from 6.3 per cent on Monday.

One new death of a confirmed patient has been recorded and the death toll under this measure is now at 2,506.

Of the new cases, 181 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 92 in Lanarkshire and 51 in Lothian.

There are 73 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, the same as Monday.

Of these patients, 10 were in intensive care, a rise of two.