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07/10/20 17:20

New moves to stop COVID-19 spread

Temporary steps announced to tackle record infection rates.

Further measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) are to come into effect later this week as Scotland recorded more than 1,000 new positive test results in a single day.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told parliament today that actions are needed now to prevent a return to the peak level of infections experienced in spring by the end of this month.

She said:

“While there are significant restrictions still in place - and they are hard and painful - we are living much more freely now than in the spring and early summer.

“We are determined - if at all possible - that this will continue to be the case. We are not going back into lockdown today. We are not closing schools. We are not halting the remobilisation of the NHS for non-Covid care. And we are not asking people to stay at home.

“The need for action is highlighted by today’s figures and, more fundamentally, in the evidence paper published today. To try to interrupt this trajectory, we must act now. While the measures will feel like a backward step, they are in the interests of protecting our progress overall.

“It is by taking the tough but necessary action now that we hope to avoid even tougher action in future.”

The new restrictions, backed by a new £40 million support fund for business and the existing UK Job Retention Scheme, will be in place nationwide for 16 days, with tighter restrictions across central belt areas where the infection rate is highest.

Restrictions on licensed premises will come into force from 18:00 on Friday 9 October, with all other restrictions applying from 00:01 Saturday 10 October.

The new measures are:

Nationwide (excepting central belt areas):

  • Hospitality (food and drink): all premises may only open indoors between 6am and 6pm, with no sales of alcohol
  • Hospitality (food and drink): premises may open outdoors until 10pm, with sales of alcohol (where licensed)
  • Takeaways (including from pubs and restaurants) can continue
  • Evening meals may be served in accommodation for residents only but no alcohol can be served
  • Current meeting rules, maximum of six people from two households, continue to apply
  • Specific life events, such as weddings and funerals, may continue with alcohol being served, with current meeting rules for these events (20 person limit in regulated premises only)

Central belt area focusing on five health board areas (Ayrshire & Arran; Forth Valley; Greater Glasgow & Clyde; Lanarkshire; Lothian):

  • All licensed premises will be required to close, with the exception of takeaway services
  • Cafés (unlicensed premises) which don’t have an alcohol licence will be able to open between 6am and 6pm
  • Takeaways (including from pubs and restaurants) can continue
  • Evening meals may be served in accommodation for residents only but no alcohol can be served
  • Specific life events, such as weddings and funerals, may continue with alcohol, with current meeting rules for these events (20 person limit in regulated premises only)
  • No group exercise classes for indoor gyms and sports courts, pools with an exemption for under 18s
  • No adult (18+) contact sports or training, except professional sports, indoor or outdoor
  • No outdoor live events
  • Snooker/pool halls, indoor bowling, casinos and bingo halls are to close
  • Public transport use should be minimised as much as possible, such as for education and work, where it cannot be done from home
  • Current meeting rules, maximum of six people from two households, continue to apply

Additionally, from this weekend, shops across Scotland are asked to return to two metres physical distancing and reintroduce the mitigations they put in place earlier in the pandemic, including one-way systems.

Background

The challenge Scotland faces has also been set out in an evidence paper published today by senior clinical advisors: the Chief Medical Officer, the Chief Nursing Officer and the National Clinical Director. It shows the R number is currently higher in Scotland than in other UK nations and that three weeks after opening hospitality, the R number rose to 1 and above.

In the seven days up to Monday, the number of people in hospital with Covid increased by almost 80%. In the past week, cases in people over 80 years old increased by 60% and cases in the 60-79 year old age group more than doubled.

During the period these measures are in place, the Scottish Government will work with all sectors to review guidance in place to ensure all steps are being taken to minimise COVID-19 transmission and support compliance with regulations.