Scots risk fines if travelling home from Christmas visits after December 27

Guidance issued by the Scottish Government makes it clear Scots attempting to make the most of the Christmas relaxations could face fines if they are caught returning after December 27.

The Scottish travel ban, which has criminalised travel to and from areas with a high prevalence of Covid-19 and Northern Ireland, England and Wales, will still be in effect after the Christmas restrictions are lifted.

It is not clear whether they will come back into effect at 12:01am on December 28 or if there will be a grace period, but the Scottish Government guidance warns there are only a select few who will not be risking fines if they travel back from their family home in England to Scotland.

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The guidance states that those travelling home on December 27 will only be given leeway if there is travel disruption preventing them from arriving home by December 27, if they are ill or forced to self-isolate due to Covid-19.

Scots travelling home after December 27 could face fines
Scots travelling home after December 27 could face fines
Scots travelling home after December 27 could face fines

It adds those travelling a distance that requires an overnight stay, such as to Shetland, must start their journey home on December 27.

The rules add that travel should be done to the islands within the five-day period and not outside it, and recommends booking public transport in advance due to capacity issues.

The publication of the full guidance for Christmas, which is a tightening of restrictions announced on Tuesday, was criticised by the Scottish Greens.

Alison Johnstone also criticised the apparent lack of risk assessments or modelling on the impact of the relaxation on human life.

The Lothian MSP said: “Greens have called for the Scottish Government to publish the evidence base behind the decision to relax restrictions over Christmas, but it now appears there isn’t one. It’s increasingly clear that the four nations decision announced earlier this week has been taken in the absence of an evidence base and puts lives at risk.

“It’s inevitable that government is now rolling back on this and tightening the guidance, but it is sending out mixed signals.

“We now need the Scottish Government to commission urgent advice from public health experts on the impacts of these rules and what more can be done to reduce the risk of Christmas festivities causing a third wave.”

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