Social gatherings of more than six people made illegal in Scotland from Monday

10 September 2020, 12:42 | Updated: 10 September 2020, 14:11

Nicola Sturgeon announced the changes today
Nicola Sturgeon announced the changes today. Picture: PA

By Fraser Knight

Social gatherings of people in Scotland will be limited to groups of six from two households both indoors and outdoors, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has told MSPs at Holyrood.

The ‘rule of six’ is to be replicated in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon announced, acknowledging it be “hard for people to hear.”

But the new rules have a number of key differences to those being introduced south of the border.

Only two households will be allowed to meet socially in any settings and under 12s will not be counted as part of the group of six.

Exceptions are being made for weddings and funerals in Scotland, with ceremonies and receptions allowed to go ahead with up to 20 people, given they are held in controlled environments like hotels or hospitality settings.

Weddings will still be allowed to have 20 people in attendance
Weddings will still be allowed to have 20 people in attendance. Picture: PA

The First Minister said: "I know that after six long, hard months, we are still asking the public to make a lot of difficult sacrifices.

"That is unavoidable, given the nature of the challenge we face.

"However, I want to be clear that while we still face a battle to get and keep Covid under control, we are in a stronger position than earlier in the year."

New rules were also introduced for the hospitality industry, meaning face coverings are becoming mandatory for all customers and staff while moving about venues.

And a pause has been brought in for a number of sectors who were due to reopen on Monday.

Soft plays, theatres, some indoor music venues and football stadia will now have to wait at least another three weeks to reopen.

Nicola Sturgeon said: “For people who work in the sectors, this is a very hard message to hear. I know how long you have waited to start up again, and how much work you have put into plans for safe reopening.

“This decision to delay the indicative date by three weeks has not been taken lightly but right now given the rise in cases it is the only responsible decision we can reach.

“For the same reason the reopening of call centres and offices where staff are still working from home will be reviewed again on 1 October but will definitely not take place before then. For now, working from home will remain the default position.”

For many of these industries, already struggling, the news comes as a blow them with even longer to wait before they can start to see any form of income again.

One soft play manager from the Scottish Borders told LBC News: “We are a struggling industry. Soft play centres can operate safely and as much as we understand the First Minister’s reasons for pushing us back, she needs to understand without financial support the whole industry is going to collapse.

“Children can be at the school for a whole day, why can’t they go out and play for a little bit? It’s no different from going to the park, where nobody cleans surfaces.”

Nicola Sturgeon has urged people in Scotland to start following new guidance immediately, before they become law from Monday.