NICOLA Sturgeon has said that Scotland will be facing tighter restrictions to fight the spread of Covid.
The First Minister said six changes would be made, as the Covid situation was “precarious and extremely serious”.
These changes are:
1 – Limit availability and operation of click and collect. Only essential items will be able to open in this way and “all other click and collect services must stop”. Staggered appointments must be used to avoid queueing, and customers will not be allowed inside shops.
2 – Takeaways will be limited, with no customers allowed inside the building. Any business looking to offer takeaway food or drink “will have to do so from a serving hatch or doorway”.
3 – Alcohol will be further restricted. From Saturday it will be illegal to drink outdoors in all level 4 areas. The First Minister said she knew “this will not be a popular move, but it is intended to underline and support the fact that we should only be leaving home just now for essential purposes”.
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4 – Employers will be further urged to allow employees to work from home. Statutory guidance will be issued to back this up. Sturgeon said: “For all employers, the basic message is that if your staff were working from home during the first lockdown, they should be working from home now.”
5 – Work done inside people’s houses will be further limited, with guidance being put into law. The First Minister said: “Work is only permitted within a private dwelling if it is essential for the upkeep, maintenance and functioning of the household. We will now put this guidance into law.”
6 – A loophole will be closed so that people cannot leave home for an essential purpose, and then conduct non-essential business. This, Sturgeon says, does not change the spirit of the lockdown but will help “provide legal clarity to facilitate any necessary enforcement”.
The First Minister said “these changes may sound technical and relatively minor”, but added: “We believe that both individually and collectively, these additional measures – in further reducing the interactions that allow the virus to spread – will help our essential efforts to suppress it.”
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The update comes after Scotland yesterday passed the “distressing” milestone of 5000 deaths of people who had tested positive for Covid in the 28 days prior to their passing.
The 79 deaths from coronavirus announced by the First Minister today (January 13) mean Scotland has now lost 5102 people to the disease, under that measure.
Sturgeon also said that 134 people are currently in intensive care in Scotland.
Updating parliament on other figures, Sturgeon said: “The total number of positive cases reported yesterday was 1949.
“This represents 10.2% of all tests carried out, and takes the total number of cases to 155,372.
“I can also confirm that as of yesterday, 191,965 people had received their first dose of vaccine.”
By the start of March, 1.4 million Scots will have received at least the first dose of the vaccine, according to the First Minister.
Sturgeon said the B117 variant is making things much more difficult, as it now represents as many as 60% of the new cases in Scotland.
However, she said lockdown is showing some signs of working, but it is not yet soon enough “to ease it in any way”.