Today (7 October), First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon spoke in Scottish Parliament regarding the next steps that the government would be undertaking in the fight against the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Prior to the announcement, Ms Sturgeon told the public that the new measures would not amount to Scotland going into another lockdown, as was the case in March.
In her speech, the First Minister said, “While the measures I announce today will feel like a backwards step, and in many respects I know they are, they are in the interest of protecting out progress overall.”
She explained that it is by “taking tough and necessary action now that we hope to avoid even tougher actions in the future.”
This is what the First Minister said in her announcement.
What are the new rules for Scotland?
For the rest of Scotland, outside of the Central Belt, the rules are as follows.
In her announcement, Ms Sturgeon said any new measures imposed on hospitality venues are intended to be enforced for 16 days, from 6pm on Friday 9 October to Sunday 25 October.
“In other words, across the next two weeks and three weekends,” the First Minister clarified.
Pubs, bars restaurants and cafes will be able to operate indoors on the following restricted basis:
- During the day from 6am to 6pm
- For the service of food and non-alcoholic beverages only
- Hotel restaurants will be able to operate beyond 6pm, but only for residents, and without alcohol
All premises may be open outdoors until 10pm, including for the sale of alcohol, if licensed to do so.
The First Minister said that there would be exceptions for these rules across all parts of Scotland, which apply to celebrations associated with specific life events. These events include weddings that are already booked and funerals, where current rules will continue to apply.
How is central Scotland affected?
Due to the “significantly high” levels of infections in the Central Belt of Scotland, there will be additional restrictions in place in the following areas:
- Greater Glasgow and Clyde
- Forth Valley
- Lothian (which includes Edinburgh)
- Ayrshire and Arran
In these areas, Ms Sturgeon explained, all licensed premises (with the exception of hotels for residents) will be required to close, both indoors and outdoors.
The Scottish government explains: “Only parts of a licensed premises where food and drink are served half to close.
"For example, the bar in a licensed clubhouse would have to close, but the shop could remain open.”
There is an exception for licensed cafes, which may open from 6am to 6pm, without alcohol sale or consumption.
Takeaways will be permitted.
Cafes which do not have an alcohol licence will be able to stay open until 6pm.
Additionally, snooker and pool halls, indoor bowling alleys, casinos and bingo halls will also be required to close in these areas for two weeks, from 10 October.
Contact sport for people aged 18 and over will be suspended for the next two weeks, with the exception for professional sport.
Indoor group exercise activities will not be allowed, although the current rules will remain in place for those under 18.
Outdoor live events will not be permitted in these five regions either, for the next two weeks.
The First Minister also said, “We are asking people living in these five health board areas to avoid public transport unless it is absolutely necessary, for example, for going to school or work if home working is not an option.”
She said that the government is advising people living in these specific areas not to travel outside of the health board area they live in if it’s not necessary.
“Likewise, people in other parts of Scotland should not travel to these areas if they don’t need to,” Ms Sturgeon clarified.
What will stay the same?
While the First Minister outlined a number of changes that are to be undertaken in Scotland, many measures will remain the same
Ms Sturgeon said, “We are not going back into lockdown today, we are not closing schools, colleges, universities, we are not halting the remobilisation of the NHS for non-Covid care, and we are not asking people to stay at home.”
It has been confirmed that gyms will remain open for individual exercises.
The First Minister stressed that the government is not imposing mandatory travel restrictions at this stage, and specifically said that she is not encouraging anyone to cancel any half term breaks they have planned.