Analysis: Nicola Sturgeon moves away from Boris Johnson's 'Freedom Day'

All of Scotland will move to level 0 on July 19, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon arrives to receive her second dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at the NHS Louisa Jordan vaccine centre in Glasgow, Scotland. Picture date: Monday June 21, 2021.
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon arrives to receive her second dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at the NHS Louisa Jordan vaccine centre in Glasgow, Scotland. Picture date: Monday June 21, 2021.

But the First Minister has tightened this new level from what was originally planned, with requirements on face masks and social distancing to remain, and working from home to be encouraged.

Ms Sturgeon appears to be attempting to distance herself from Boris Johnson’s ‘Freedom Day’.

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

While Scotland’s Covid restrictions have been markedly different to those in England and the rest of the UK, there has been a noticeable shift closer in recent months.

After it became clear that differences in international travel requirements are easily undermined, with many travellers simply flying into an England airport and crossing the border by car, Scotland is now party to a four-nation approach on travel.

This will continue, with Scotland joining England in scrapping isolation requirements for double-jabbed arrivals from Amber list countries from next week.

Read More

Read More
Covid Scotland: How do level 0 rules from Jul 19 compare to elsewhere in the UK?

And the next stage of restrictions easing in both countries will take place on July 19.

Previous language from the Scottish Government – of a “change in approach”, easing being linked just to vaccine success, and a move from “data not dates” to the opposite, has suggested much more alignment with England than previously.

But while the easing will still take place, Ms Sturgeon has now taken a firmer stand to keep some restrictions.

Face masks will still be mandatory, gatherings will be limited, hospitality will be restricted and nightclubs won’t be allowed to open.

The messaging has also moved further away: “We will not abandon you,” Nicola Sturgeon said to clinically vulnerable people on Tuesday, having previously said she will not use young people as “guinea pigs”.

This caution is a welcome and responsible choice, but the increased similarities between Scotland and England may make it harder to enforce tougher rules up here.

The amended level 0 has already been called “0.5” and some may be less convinced by “beyond level 0” than the “freedom” message pushed south of the border.

As the gap widens between Scotland and the rest of the UK, and people and businesses continue to tire of restrictions, clear messaging will be more important than ever.

A message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.