Huge parts of Scotland to be plunged into Level 4 lockdown from FRIDAY with pubs shut in bid to save Xmas
HUGE parts of Scotland are set to be given tough Level 4 lockdown from Friday to try and save Christmas, Nicola Sturgeon announced today.
Pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops in eleven local authority areas in Scotland will be forced to close for three weeks but schools will remain open.
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North and South Lanarkshire, East and South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian will all move to Level 4 from 6pm on Friday.
But East Lothian and Midlothian will head into the toughest rules from next Tuesday.
Ms Sturgeon said coronavirus cases in these areas were stuck “stubbornly and worryingly high”.
Ms Sturgeon said today a “limited period” of the strictest measures could allow the tough rules to be relaxed in time for Christmas.
She said: “Level 4 is intended to be short and sharp and in this situation it is intended to have an impact in advance of Christmas and the most challenging winter period.
“These decisions will give us the best possible chance – albeit in a limited and careful way – of being able to ease restrictions in all parts of Scotland for Christmas.”
The level 4 rules are the closest to “full lockdown”, with non-essential shops forced to shut again, along with bars, restaurants, hairdressers and tourist attractions.
But schools will stay open, after Ms Sturgeon has repeatedly insisted it her “objective and intention” to keep them from closing.
The restrictions will be lifted on October 11 for areas under the toughest lockdown areas.
It would mirror Boris Johnson’s hopes that tougher regional lockdowns in the first half of December could rescue the festive season.
But she warned there were growing fears about the daily number of new cases, despite Scotland’s tough two week circuit breaker lockdown from October 9 to October 25.
Case numbers in Glasgow, North and South Lanarkshire, East Renfrewshire, East and West Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire – where 1.8 million people live – are “not reducing sufficiently” under Level 3.
She said yesterday: “Stubbornly high prevalence means that we might have less flexibility to offer some limited and careful easing of restrictions over the Christmas period which we are very keen to do.
“Moving to Level 4 restrictions for a limited period in some areas, while not a decision we would ever take lightly because of the wider economic and social impact, would help us to address both of these concerns.”
It came as:
- A PHE chief raised the prospect of a ban on household mixing through the winter to keep transmission low
- Matt Hancock confirmed that 5million doses of the new Moderna vaccine had been secured – after it was found to be 94 per cent effective
- Boris Johnson sparked a furious row by saying devolution was a disaster and Tony Blair’s “biggest mistake”
- Average positive coronavirus cases went up last week – but the Covid symptom app said cases were flatlining
Mr Johnson has said he wants there to be a common approach to Covid restrictions over Christmas across the four nations.
And today Ms Sturgeon said she hoped people could look forward to some “respite” over the festive season.
It would mean people with family in different parts of the UK wouldn’t fall foul of different rules from the devolved administrations.
England is expected to be plunged back into a regional lockdown – known as Tiers – but it could be even tougher than the system in place before the national measures in order to release people for Christmas dinners, it was suggested last night.
It could mean even Brits in parts of the country with the lowest infection rates could face up to a household mixing ban after December 2 – which is the next level up from Tier 1.
And sources told Politico that a possible ban on indoor socialising would take place in the first weeks of December.
The hope would be that cases could remain low enough that they could be eased over the festive period.
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