Meanwhile, all of mainland Scotland will move to Tier 4 from December 26.
The winter has seen a rise in coronavirus cases across the country, and whilst Christmas had been earmarked as a time in which households would be allowed to mix, the reality of the continuing pandemic has made this even more difficult. As a result, the allowance for Christmas gatherings in Scotland has been cut from five days (December 23-27, in line with the rest of the UK) to just Christmas Day. As a result, indoor mixing in a bubble in Scotland will be permitted on Christmas Day only, so if you’re planning to see the extended family inside, that’s your only chance this winter.
In a press conference this evening, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the change to the rules around Christmas gatherings – just three days after UK governments had confirmed their intentions to keep the five days, three households rule in place. It’s not a message she delivered lightly, saying that the reversal “breaks my heart” and that she was desperately sorry that those who’d planned a longer Christmas celebration would be forced to cancel. However, she also asked Scots to use their best judgement, saying “our advice is still not to meet indoors even on Christmas Day with other households if you can possibly avoid it.”
As of today, the rules for Christmas are now as follows: a maximum of eight people from three households can meet on Christmas Day only – again, the First Minister advised us to minimise those numbers as much as possible. Travelling around Scotland will be allowed on Christmas Day only, and a strict travel ban between Scotland and the rest of the UK over Christmas will forbid cross-border travel.
In addition, Sturgeon revealed that all of mainland Scotland will move to Tier 4 restrictions from Boxing Day (December 26) – the highest of the nation’s five-tier system. It comes less than two weeks after Glasgow was moved down to Tier 3, and means that household mixing will be forbidden, pubs and restaurants must shut, and non-essential retail will also close. Tier 4 is currently scheduled to last at least three weeks, with schools not set to reopen until January 11. We’ll keep you up to date with any new or changed restrictions as news arrives.