Nicola Sturgeon announces six new COVID-19 lockdown rules
Scotland lockdown restrictions will tighten from Saturday, January 16, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Wednesday. She said the measures were being implemented due to the “precarious” situation of the coronavirus pandemic. Express.co.uk has compiled a guide to explain the six new rules and how they differ from the current lockdown restrictions.
Click and Collect
Click and Collect services will be limited to essential shopping such as clothing, books and baby equipment.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Firstly, we intend to limit the availability and operation of click and collect retail services.
“Only retailers selling essential items will be allowed to offer click and collect.
“This will include, for example, clothes and footwear, baby equipment, homeware and books. “All other click and collect services must stop.”
The following stores will be able to continue operating click and collect services: clothing and footwear, homeware, garden centre/plant nurseries, baby equipment, electrical (including repairs), key cutting and shoe and bookstores.
Where click and collect services are permitted, staggered appointments will be required to avoid any potential queueing.
In addition, access inside premises is banned and instead outdoor collection should be orchestrated.
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Takeaway food or coffee customers will no longer be allowed to enter premises to collect orders.
Premises must operate a strict no-entry policy for customers.
Instead, outlets must use a serving hatch or operate from the doorway.
Explaining the decision behind the move, the First Minister said: “This reduces the risk of customers coming into contact indoors with each other, or with staff.”
From 12.01am on Saturday, it will be against the law to consume alcohol in any outdoor public place in any Level 4 area.
This means drinking takeaway pints and other alcoholic beverages on the street will no longer be permitted.
Ms Sturgeon said: “This will mean, for example, that buying a takeaway pint and drinking it outdoors will not be permitted.
“Again, I know 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.
“That includes exercise or recreation but not simple socialising.
“And when you do leave the home, you should only meet one person from another household, in a group no bigger than two people.
“I know this is a hard message – and it is not one I want to be sending – but it is vital to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.”
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Working from Home
The Scottish Government is strengthening its obligation on employers to enable staff to work from home where possible.
The law already outlines people should only leave their homes for work when they cannot work from home, but this legal mandate falls on the employee.
Now statutory guidance will make it clear employers are responsible for supporting working from home where possible.
Ms Sturgeon said: “For all employers, the basic but vital message is that if your staff were working from home during the first lockdown, they should be working from home now and you should be facilitating that.”
Provisions for home maintenance work will also alter from 12.01am on January 16.
Currently, guidance is in effect mandating work undertaken in private dwellings is deemed essential for the upkeep, maintenance and functioning of a household.
However, this guidance will now be put into law.
Stay at home message
The Scottish Government will be amending the regulations requiring people stay at home to “close an apparent loophole” which is allowing people to act against the spirit of the law.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Right now, the law states that people can only leave home for an essential purpose.
“However, having left home for an essential purpose, someone could then stay out of their home to do something that is not essential without breaching the law as it stands.
“So the amendment will make it clear that people must not leave or remain outside the home unless it is for an essential purpose.
“This change will provide legal clarity to facilitate any necessary enforcement.
“I want to be clear though that this does not change the range of essential purposes that currently enable people to leave their house – nor does it, for example, put any time limit on how long you can be outdoors for essential exercise.
“But it does mean that if the police challenge you for being out of the house doing something that is not essential, it will not be a defence to say you initially left the house to do something that was essential.”
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