Scotland faces new restrictions in a bid to curb Covid-19 cases

7 October 2020, 15:02 | Updated: 7 October 2020, 15:40

Nicola Sturgeon spoke in Holyrood
Nicola Sturgeon spoke in Holyrood. Picture: Scottish Parliament

By Maddie Goodfellow

Scotland is set to face 16 days of restrictions, with pubs and restaurants and bars banned from selling alcohol indoors in a bid to curb coronavirus cases.

Announcing changes to coronavirus measures in Holyrood, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that indoor hospitality venues will only be allowed to operate between 6am and 6pm daily, selling food and non-alcoholic drinks only.

Outdoor bars, restaurants and cafes will be allowed to remain open up until 10pm and will be allowed to sell alcohol up to that time.

The restrictions will come into force at 6pm on Friday and are intended to end after October 25.

However, all licensed premises in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley health board areas will be closed for both indoor and outdoor operations.

Cafes without a licence to sell alcohol will be allowed to open until 6pm, the First Minister said, to counter social isolation.

Scottish pubs have been ordered to close
Scottish pubs have been ordered to close. Picture: PA

Mandatory wearing of face coverings has been furthered to include indoor settings such as staff canteens and corridors.

Ms Sturgeon also announced £40m to support businesses affected by these measures over the next two weeks.

People in the central belt of Scotland have been asked to avoid public transport unless absolutely necessary in the next two weeks.

While a travel restriction is not being enforced on people in the central belt, Ms Sturgeon urged those living in these areas not to travel beyond their own health boards.

The First Minister said the country is in a better position than at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, as she announced temporary measures to quell the spread of the virus.

Addressing MSPs, Nicola Sturgeon said it was important "for the morale of all of us" not to forget that progress has been made.

Cases are not rising as quickly as in March, with the current number of cases just 13% of the highest point of the pandemic and the understanding of the spread of the virus has increased.

She said: "So while there are significant restrictions still in place - and they are hard and painful - we are living much more freely now than in the spring and early summer.

"We are determined - if at all possible - that this will continue to be the case."

Nicola Sturgeon also explained: "We must introduce additional measures. But I will be clear, we are not going back into lockdown.

"We must act now. We are currently four weeks behind France.

"For the last 12 days, we have not been able to meet up in each other's homes. It is vitally important to stick to that rule, it is the single most effective measure we can take.

"That measure is vital but it is not sufficient. We need to do more, and we need to do it now."

She continued: "We are applying a far more targeted approach than we did in March, while keeping businesses as open as possible.

"We are also not saying that people who were shielding before should do so again, but they should take extra care.

Alcohol will not be sold  in pubs, bars and restaurants for 16 days
Alcohol will not be sold in pubs, bars and restaurants for 16 days. Picture: PA

It comes as Scotland recorded more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours for the first time.

Health Protection Scotland (HPS) figures released by the Scottish Government on Wednesday indicate 1,054 new cases were registered overnight.

Scotland recorded one coronavirus death in the past 24 hours, taking the total under this measure - patients who died within 28 days of first testing positive - to 2,533.

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Of the new cases, 410 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 195 in Lanarkshire and 190 in Lothian.

A total of 34,760 people have now tested positive for the virus in Scotland, up from 33,706.

There are 319 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, up by 57 in 24 hours.

Of these patients, 28 are in intensive care - up by three.

It comes after Nicola Sturgeon said at Tuesday's coronavirus press conference that said the update would not include restricting travel across the country or enforcing a stay-at-home order, although such measures could remain in "hotspot" areas.

Ms Sturgeon told the daily briefing in Edinburgh that schools would not be "wholly or even partially" closed and that her government would not "shut down the entire economy" or "halt the remobilisation of the NHS".

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"We are not proposing another lockdown at this stage," Ms Sturgeon said.

"Not even on a temporary basis."