The update includes changes to takeaways, click and collect services and more.
The First Minister has announced further tightening of the current lockdown restrictions imposed on mainland Scotland, which will see some businesses having to limit customers entering their premises, as well as a ban on consuming alcohol outdoors. In a statement to MSPs, Nicola Sturgeon told Holyrood that the situation has become “very precarious and extremely serious”, therefore she has chosen to implement tighter restrictions.
From this Saturday (January 16), only retailers selling essential items will be able to offer click and collect retail services. This will include, for example, clothes and footwear, baby equipment, homeware and books. These businesses must also stagger their appointments to avoid queuing and access inside will no longer be permitted.
The First Minister said: “I know that businesses affected by this change will be disappointed, and that many have gone to great lengths to make services as safe as possible. But we must reduce as far as is possible the reasons people have just now for leaving home and coming into contact with others. I welcome the actions of those businesses that have voluntarily suspended click and collect, and tightened their procedures in relation to face coverings.”
The updated restrictions will also see changes to food and drink takeaways with customers no longer allowed to go inside to collect takeaway food or drinks such as coffees. Any outlet wishing to offer takeaway will have to do so from a serving hatch or doorway. Plus, from Saturday it will be against the law to drink outdoors in public in a Level 4 area, such as Glasgow. In other words, you cannot get a takeaway pint and drink it outdoors.
The Scottish government has also published statutory guidance for employers to make clear to employers that they must support employees. There will be a legal obligation on employers to allow working from home and Nicola Sturgeon stated that if staff were working from home during the last lockdown back in March, they should be working from home now.
In addition, work in people’s houses (private properties) will only be allowed if essential for the upkeep, maintenance and functioning of the household. This guidance will now be put into law for all Level 4 areas.
This updates comes as the First Minister announced that the new Covid-19 variant now represents 60% of new cases in Scotland. She also said that without these tighter restrictions set to be put in place on the weekend, will make it far more difficult to get the R number below 1.
Despite the tighter restrictions set to come into force soon, the First Minister outlined Scotland’s vaccination programme, which has already begun with vaccinations for those over 80 years old under way and the first doses of the vaccine set to be completed by the start of February.
In her statement to Holyrood, Nicola Sturgeon said: “Vaccination offers us a route back to a more normal life, and gives us real hope for the future. But for now, we are in a race against the virus. To win this race, we must complete the vaccination programme as quickly as possible – and that is what we will do. But we must also slow down the virus.”
The government plans to offer vaccinations to those over 70 years old by mid-February and those over 65 years old, as well as those with extreme clinical vulnerability, by the end of February.
Nicola Sturgeon also highlighted that more than 80% of care home residents and more than 50% of frontline social care and health workers have already been vaccinated. Over 190,000 people have now received their first dose of the vaccine and by the start of March, the aim is to have given 1.4m people their first dose of the vaccine.