A new raft of Covid Restrictions has now been announced for Scotland, following a sharp rise in Covid infections and new hospital admissions.
In a briefing given to the Scottish Parliament today, Wednesday 7th October, First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon laid out her cabinet’s plans for the news restrictions, decisions based on medical advice and wellbeing but also taking on board advice about jobs and economy. The main points of the briefing are outlined below.
Here’s the new restrictions, which are particularly targeted:
- Hospitality – From this Friday, 9th October at 6pm until Sunday 25th October (2 weeks, 3 weekends) Nationally Pubs, Restaurants and Cafes will not be able to sell alcohol indoors after 6pm. During the day from 6am to 6pm they can serve food and non alcoholic drinks only. Hospitality won’t close. Current meeting limits will continue. Bars and restaurants can continue to serve alcohol outdoors up to 10pm.
- Health Board Areas – However, in five health areas….Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire & Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley where infection is greatest, Pubs and licensed cafes must shut to all but takeaway customers for more than two weeks from Friday. Takeaways still allowed.
- Snooker, Bingo and Pool halls – will close for 2 weeks.
- Contact sports – for people 18 and over will be suspended for 2 weeks. Gyms will remain open.
- 2m Distancing – Shops will need to reintroduce 2m physical distancing and one way systems in supermarkets from this weekend.
- Public Transport – People in Central Belt should avoid Public transport unless it is absolutely necessary, e.g getting to school, work.
Support for Business
The Government has announced a support package of £40m for businesses that are affected by these measures over the coming 2 weeks and that this money gets to those businesses as quickly as possible.
No suspensions will be put on NHS services.
In her address, the First Minister touched on several points.
Figures for the last 24 hours. An additional 1,054 cases have been confirmed in the last 24 hours, 319 patients are in hospital with 28 people in intensive care. This week, there is the highest number of deaths in Scotland since late June.
She mentioned these have not been easy decisions to make, a difficult balance for the economy but primarily considering life. These tough actions will help avoid the spread of the virus.
There could be further mandatory use of facemasks.
Current Course of the Pandemic – there is a rise again amongst older age groups, shifting back to people of elderly years, rather than young people which was seen throughout summer. There is a particular concern for Glasgow, Lanarkshire and Lothian. If no action is taken now, infections and hospital admissions would be where they were in March, by the end of this month. Particular care is needed in Central Belt.
These new restrictions are clearly going to affect many people and businesses and may seem like a backward step. However, its hoped the new rules can be followed to ensure we all get through this as quickly and safely as possible. Stay safe everybody!
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