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Holiday at home plea

Think carefully about an overseas holiday, says FM

Nicola Sturgeon: no certainty on quarantines

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned those planning a holiday overseas, particularly to Spain, that there is no guarantee they won’t be hit with quarantine restrictions.

Speaking about the prospects for travel in and out of Scotland, she urged holidaymakers to “think carefully” about overseas trips and instead plan a vacation in Scotland.

She said the decision on lifting of the quarantine requirement on Spain is “not cast in stone”, and could change if the circumstances around the spread of coronavirus changed.

“You cannot book a holiday right now with certainty. I wish you could,” she said during her daily briefing.

“You have to be aware that if you book a holiday to Spain because you think that in two or three weeks time the quarantine arrangements might not apply – there is no guarantee of that.

“And there is no guarantee that if there is an outbreak in the countries you go to that they won’t impose some further measures while you are there.”

She added: “It leads me to the conclusion that you should think very carefully right now about overseas travel if it is not essential.

“If you want a holiday then holiday here in Scotland and you’ll also be helping the Scottish tourism industry.”

‘Confusing message’

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said the FM’s advice was “confusing” and would leave families unclear about what they should do.

Mr Rennie called on Ms Sturgeon to clear up the “growing muddle about travel to Spain”.

He said he had advised against non-essential travel abroad despite lifting the restrictions on travel from Spain. She also said prevalence of the virus was in decline despite the Spanish health ministry talking about an increase.

Mr Rennie said: “I want to understand the logic behind the First Minister’s advice as I am keen to continue to be supportive through this pandemic, but I am genuinely confused by her remarks. 

“Spain warns that the virus is on the rise, but the First Minister says its down.  The Scottish Government lifts the restrictions on Spain, but the First Minister advises against non-essential travel.  It is confusing.

“Families who have booked holidays based on the release of quarantine will now being worrying whether they can safely go abroad. We need to have confidence in the science that is being used and the advice that is being provided.”

Working from home

The First Minister said the policy on working from home remains in place in Scotland, unlike in England where office workers have been encouraged to return to work even if they can work from home.

She said changes in working arrangements are being made “at a pace and a level that is right for Scotland.

“Working from home remains the default position and we expect employers to support that. We will be publishing guidance shortly.

“Non-essential offices and call centres should remain closed.”

Prime Minister’s visit

Ms Sturgeon said she had “no plans” to meet Boris Johnson who is expected to visit Scotland on Thursday.

“I am always happy to meet if he wants to do so,” she said.

Mr Johnson will urge Cabinet colleagues to be more “vocal” in Scotland about the UK Government’s role in the economic recovery from coronavirus.

He is also expected to promote his vision for a bridge linking Scotland to Northern Ireland as part of his “build, build, build” agenda for the post-Covid economy.

The PM is likely to confirm funding for a feasibility study into the idea for a crossing between Portpatrick and Larne, which would cost an estimated £20 billion to build.

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