A new five tier plan for how Scotland will deal with the coronavirus pandemic has been announced by Nicola Sturgeon.
The Scottish First Minister outlined the new tiered system at her daily coronavirus briefing on Friday afternoon.
If approved at Holyrood on Tuesday, the new measures will come into force in Scotland on Monday November 2. They will be reviewed on a weekly basis.
She said the tiers start at ‘level zero’ which she described as ‘the closest to normality we think it is safe to get to.’ Indoor meetings are allowed for up to eight people and businesses are open.
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At level one less people are able to meet indoors while tier two would see restrictions similar to those outside the central belt.
Level three would see hospitality close, similar to the situation inside the central belt. It is intended as a short term intervention to quickly bring transmission rates down.
The final level four are closer to a full lockdown but meet ups are still allowed outdoors.
‘We do not envisage returning to a situation as severe as the lockdown imposed in late March’, the first minister said.
Ms Sturgeon announced 18 people have died in the last 24 hours and 1,401 new cases have been confirmed but said overall the situation is showing signs of improvement.
The new set of restrictions has been anticipated since a similar three-tiered system was introduced in England by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Earlier this month, temporary restrictions were brought in across Scotland and, although initially set to end on October 25, these were extended until the new tiered system comes into effect.
Since October 9, bars and licensed restaurants in five health board areas – Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley – have been forced to close for all but takeaways.
Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes elsewhere in Scotland are only allowed to serve indoor customers between 6am and 6pm with a ban on alcohol inside, although alcoholic drinks can be served until 10pm in outdoor areas.
In a radio interview on Thursday, Prof Leitch said he is hopeful that by sticking to tough restrictions, Scotland could enjoy ‘some form of normality’ over the festive break.
But he also urged the public to prepare for a ‘digital Christmas’ while warning of the unlikelihood of ‘large family groupings with multiple families’ this year.
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