Tougher coronavirus restrictions come into force in Scotland

16 January 2021, 09:41

A general view of Buchanan Street in Glasgow, as stricter lockdown measures have came into force
A general view of Buchanan Street in Glasgow, as stricter lockdown measures have came into force. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Toughened lockdown restrictions have come into force in Scotland due to a rapidly spreading strain of Covid-19.

In response to what the First Minister called an "extremely serious" situation, further measures have been brought in to stop the spread of coronavirus and limit non-essential contact.

People who live in a Level 4 area - currently all of mainland Scotland - should not leave or remain outside their home, except for essential purposes.

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Working from home has become a default position for all businesses through statutory guidance and services, and only those who cannot do their job from home should go into a workplace.

Guidance previously issued to only allow essential work to be undertaken inside people's homes has also been placed into law.

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Ms Sturgeon confirmed coronavirus regulations will change to forbid people from leaving home for anything other than an essential purpose and that police can challenge people for doing something considered not to be essential after they have left the house.

Entering businesses to purchase takeaway food and drinks has also been stopped. Now, premises will need to operate using a hatch or counter at the door. Drinking alcohol in public outdoors has also been banned.

Non-essential click-and-collect services are now prohibited.

Essential services - including clothing and footwear stores, homeware stores, garden centres/plant nurseries, baby equipment shops, electrical goods (including repairs), key cutting and shoe repair shops, and bookstores - can continue to offer click-and-collect services, but must operate with timeslots.

In a statement to Parliament, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Wednesday: "The situation we face in relation to the virus remains extremely serious.

"We must continue to do everything possible to reduce case numbers - this is essential to relieve the pressure on our NHS and to save lives.

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"Both individually and collectively, these additional measures - in further reducing the interactions that allow the virus to spread - will help our essential efforts to suppress it.

"At this critical and dangerous moment, please: Stay Home. Protect the NHS. Save lives."

Commenting on the click-and-collect ban for many shops, Scottish Retail Consortium director David Lonsdale said: "Industry has spent months pleading for greater visibility over potential next steps with Covid restrictions and a more consistent approach.

"The only constant in recent weeks, however, is a continual chopping and changing of the Covid Strategic Framework, with every twist and turn to Government rules adding fresh complexity and confusion.

"Food takeaway firms and retailers operating click-and-collect are striving to implement and operationalise these latest Byzantine new restrictions to a ludicrously short timetable, more so given ministers have only just published the regulations and guidance."