New Covid clampdown
Scotland likely to see three-tier lockdown plan
Pubs could face further restrictions
A three-tiered Covid alert system could be introduced in Scotland by the end of this month.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon intends to align Scotland as closely as possible with the rest of the UK.
A new system could be implemented to coincide with the end of the current restrictions on 25 October.
It could see local lockdowns in Covid hotspots similar to those being imposed in England.
Merseyside is the only place so far facing the “very high risk” tier-3 measures which means that from Wednesday 14 October pubs, bars, gyms, leisure centres, betting shops, adult gaming centres and casinos will close.
People in central Scotland are already under strict conditions introduced last Friday across five health board areas from coast to coast.
Speaking at her daily coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh on Monday Ms Sturgeon said the measures will go to the Scottish Parliament for approval after the October recess.
Ms Sturgeon said she held a crisis meeting on Monday with the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, other leaders and regional mayors, to discuss the new alert system.
She said: “At a strategic level, we will be looking to align as closely as possible with the other UK nations – I think it is important and it makes sense to try and do that, though I would stress that operational decisions about what tiers may apply in which parts of our nations will be for each of us to take at a devolved level.
“As I said to parliament last week, we intend to develop our own tiering framework and take that to parliament after the October recess, and of course that will coincide with the ending of the temporary reset restrictions announced last week.”
Other measures are likely to be introduced in Scotland, including the extension of face covering regulations and strengthening compliance around self isolation.
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England revealed the virus was spreading most rapidly amongst young people but there had been “incremental creep” towards older age groups.
Retailers were relieved that they have escaped any further measures under Mr Johnson’s new order.
However, British Chambers of Commerce director General Adam Marshall said businesses were unhappy at the way businesses were being expected to close at short notice with no clear strategy.
“Firms have put hard work and precious cash into making their businesses Covid-secure, and must be allowed to operate unless there is overwhelming and clear evidence to the contrary,” he said. “Businesses cannot be subjected to a rollercoaster of stop-start restrictions with no end in sight.
“Speculation and rumour have badly eroded trust between Westminster, local government, and our businesses communities.”
A group of English pub and night club owners have put on hold plans to mount a legal challenge after it was announced that hospitality and entertainment venues would only close in Merseyside.
The current rules in Scotland
Across the majority of Scotland, all premises may only open indoors between 6am and 6pm, with no sale of alcohol permitted.
All premises are permitted to open outdoors until 10pm, including for sale of alcohol, if they are licensed to do so.
A maximum of six people from two households can meet in hospitality settings.
In five health board areas, the Scottish government has implemented tougher restrictions.
Licensed premises must close, but only where food and drink is served.
Licensed cafes may remain open from 6am to 6pm, without the sale or consumption of alcohol.
Other unlicensed premises may remain open from 6am to 6pm, with meeting rules of a maximum of six people from two households.
No outdoor live events are allowed.
How the tier system works in England
- Medium (tier one): Will cover most of the country and consists of the current national measures, which includes the rule of six and the closure of hospitality venues at 10pm
- High (tier two): This would include tougher restrictions, including not being able to mix with other households indoors
- Very high (tier three): This alert level will be applied to areas causing the most concern, and will include baseline measures of prohibiting social mixing indoors and in private gardens and pubs and bars closing