Urgent action to bring virus under control.
Mainland Scotland is to go into lockdown from midnight tonight with a new legal requirement forbidding anyone from leaving their home except for essential purposes. Some islands will remain at Level 3.
Amongst the limited reasonable excuses to leave your home are provisions for caring, outdoor exercise and to go to work, but only if that work cannot be done from home.
In a statement to Parliament, the First Minister said a steep increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) infections and the intensity of pressure on the NHS have created a race between the virus and the vaccines now coming online.
As a result, she said it was now imperative that everyone should comply with the message to “Stay at Home” for the duration of January.
The First Minister said:
“We are now seeing a steeply rising trend of infections. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that I am more concerned about the situation we face now than I have been at any time since March last year.
“As a government our clear duty right now is to act quickly and decisively to safeguard health, save lives and protect the NHS.
“The advice of our clinical advisers is very clear that the increased transmissibility of the new variant means that the current level 4 measures may not be sufficient to bring the R number back below 1.
“It is essential that we further limit interaction between different households to stem the spread and bring the situation back under control, while we vaccinate more people.
“In short, we must return for a period to a situation much closer to the lockdown of last March.”
In the week from 23 to 30 December the seven day incidence of cases per 100,000 of the population increased by 65% – from 136 to 225.
The new measures will make it a legal requirement to stay at home unless there is a reasonable excuse for leaving such as essential shopping, education, childcare or to support the vulnerable. Everyone must now work from home where they can.
Other key changes include:
The First Minister also told parliament that from Friday, 8 January a number of other measures will be taken including:
The restrictions are expected to be in place for at least four weeks, but will be kept under review.
Further information for tourism and hospitality businesses in level 4 areas in Scotland:
Hospitality: Restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars are closed.
o Takeaways can still operate as normal, providing food is sold for consumption off premises. Face coverings and physical distancing rules must be followed.
o Hotels and other accommodation providers can still serve food to qualifying guests i.e. keyworkers staying in their premises up to 22:00. Room service, including alcohol, is allowed as normal.
Accommodation: All holiday accommodation is closed to tourism. Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering can remain open for essential customers only:
o Anyone who requires accommodation to attend a funeral
o Anyone who is providing accommodation or support services to the homeless
o Anyone who uses that accommodation as their main residence
o Anyone who needs accommodation while moving home
o Anyone who is unable to return to their main residence
o Anyone who requires accommodation to attend a marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration
o Anyone who requires accommodation to participate in or facilitate shared parenting arrangements
o All indoor visitor attractions such as museums, galleries, heritage attractions, indoor areas of zoos and aquariums are closed.
o Outdoor visitor attractions, such as parks and gardens and the outdoor areas of zoos may remain open, to enable exercise and recreation to be undertaken with appropriate physical distancing in place, but should only be visited in line with travel restrictions.
o Visitor attractions’ retail and hospitality facilities will be closed.
o Public and customer toilets can be opened, as long as it is safe to do so. Where toilets are part of a larger premises e.g. a shop, face coverings must be worn.
The new regulations apply to all parts of Scotland currently in level 4. The island areas currently in level 3 will remain there, but will be kept under review.
Read the Coronavirus (COVID-19): stay at home guidance
(see ‘Accommodation’ Section)