'Lockdown to slowdown'

Relief for some as Sturgeon urges continued caution


Pubs can serve customers indoors in Level 2

Nicola Sturgeon eased the lockdown pressures on businesses today but erred on the side of caution by keeping some parts of Scotland under tight restrictions.

Half of local authority areas will move to Level 1 – effectively near-normal – on Saturday which is earlier than planned. But Glasgow will join 13 others that remain in Level 2.

There had been expectations that the whole country could move to level one next week.

The First Minister warned that we are “still not quite there yet” and must “err on the side of caution” until more of the population has had both injections of the vaccine.

She said she does “not want to keep a single part of this country in tougher restrictions or any restrictions for longer than necessary.

“But I do have a duty to continue to navigate us through this safely and where necessary cautiously so that we can keep our progress overall.”

Ms Sturgeon insisted that a tentative approach now would increase the chance of unlocking the whole country. Her comments were seen as a warning to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to heed the advice of experts who say that dropping all restriction on 21 June – so-called Freedom Day – would be a mistake.

The areas moving to level 1 are: Highland, Argyle and Bute, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire, Moray, Angus, Falkirk, Fyfe, Perth and Kinross, Inverclyde, Eastern West Lothian, West Dumbartonshire Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders.

Those that will be in Level 2 are: Edinburgh, Midlothian, Dundee, East Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, the three Ayrshires, North and South Lanarkshire. Clackmannanshire and Stirling.

Andrew McRae

Andrew McRae: lockdown to slowdown

The decision to move 15 local authority areas in Scotland to Level 1 came as a relief to business groups.

Andrew McRae, the Federation of Small Business’s Scotland policy chairman, said: “Today’s changes really are two steps forward but one back for Scotland’s business community.

“Glasgow and large swathes of Scotland will be pleased to hear that some restrictions are to be lifted. But firms and communities in the rest of the country will be frustrated that progress has stalled.

“We’ve gone from lockdown to slowdown, and patience and cash reserves are in short supply.” 

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, said it would “come as a huge boost for so many” businesses, but “with a degree of disappointment” for those in the 14 local authority areas which will not move to level 1 at the same time.

Continuation of the Strategic Framework Fund will help, he said, but the amount of support on offer “does not in any way cover the costs being incurred or compensate for the loss of revenues.”

Tracy Black, CBI Scotland director, said: “Businesses across Glasgow will be relieved to see an end to level three restrictions finally in sight.”

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said the SNP Government has left 14 councils and 2.96 million people across Scotland “in limbo” by keeping whole areas stuck in level two Covid restrictions.

Douglas Ross said the decision was a “disappointing setback” when people are already “at the end of their tether” after a year of disruption to their lives.

The Scottish Conservatives have argued that Scotland should move to level one from 7 June, with a new approach of targeted interventions where local outbreaks occur, instead of “sweeping”, “out of date” council-wide measures.

In Level 2

  • you can meet socially in groups of up to:
    • 6 people from 3 households in your home or theirs – and can stay overnight
    • 6 people from 3 households in an indoor public place like a café, pub or restaurant
    • 8 people from 8 households outdoors
  • under 12s do not count towards the total number of people or households meeting outside but do count towards household numbers indoors
  • you do not need to physically distance from family and friends in a private home
  • you can travel anywhere in Scotland in Levels 0, 1 or 2 but must not enter a Level 3 or 4 area unless you have a permitted reason like going to work or caring for a vulnerable person
  • you can travel to England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands – before you travel you must check the travel rules in those countries
  • you can provide informal childcare, for example to look after a grandchild
  • up to 50 people can attend weddings and funerals
  • tradespeople can carry out any work in your home such as painting, decorating or repairing
  • you should work from home where possible

Places and business that can open at Level 2 include:

  • cafés, pubs and restaurants
  • all shops and stores
  • all close contact services including hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons
  • gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools
  • tourist accommodation
  • visitor attractions
  • public buildings like libraries and community centres
  • cinemas, theatres, concert halls, amusement arcades, casinos, bingo halls, bowling alleys and snooker/pool halls
  • stadiums and events – with maximum numbers

Places and business that must close at Level 2 include:

  • soft play, funfairs, nightclubs and adult entertainment

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