First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned Scots that her government will reimpose lockdown restrictions if people do not comply with the newest guidelines.
It comes after police figures showed that officers issued 797 dispersals on Saturday alone - in cases where groups of people were not in compliance with the rules.
“To give some context to that,” Ms Sturgeon said today, “797 is five times higher than the figure for the previous Saturday.”
Since Scotland entered phase one of the government’s lockdown easing plan, two households have been allowed to meet outside as long as the group numbers no more than eight people, and social distancing measures are followed.
“I know in the last three days, many of you have had long-awaited reunions with family, friends, and loved ones, and I really hope that you all enjoyed that,” the First Minister said today.
“I also know that the vast majority of people stuck to the rules when having those reunions, and I want to thank you sincerely for that.
“You stayed outdoors in small groups, and you stayed two metres apart from other households.
“However,” she warned, “it’s also clear that over the weekend, not everybody stuck to the rules.”
She said that on Sunday, traffic around beauty spots Loch Lomond and Glencoe was up more than 70 per cent on the previous Sunday, as some people defied guidelines that set a limit of five miles on travel.
“I’m going to be very blunt here. It is very hard to see how all of that could have been caused by local residents,” Ms Sturgeon said.
“We do trust, and continue to trust, the majority to... stay within the rules”
“But,” she said, “if there is continued evidence of even a minority not abiding by these guidelines...we will have to put these restrictions on group size and travel distance into law.
“We won’t hesitate to do that if we think that is necessary for the collective safety and wellbeing of the nation.”
Ms Sturgeon also warned that the Scottish government could reimpose full lockdown restrictions if measures are not followed.
“The fact is the virus is being suppressed but it has not gone away.” she said, “it is still extremely dangerous.”
Progress made in fighting the outbreak is not “irreversible”, she added, warning that if cases increase, so too could deaths.
“And if that happens, restrictions will have to be reimposed, rather than further relaxed.
“None of us want that to happen, but the only way of avoiding it is for all of us to comply.”
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