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First Minster announces further lockdown restrictions

By David Porter

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In the last 24 hours there were a further 1949 cases of coronavirus in Scotland which equated to 10.2 per cent of those tested.

A further 79 deaths were also recorded in the last 24 hours.

New lockdown rules come into affect on Saturday
New lockdown rules come into affect on Saturday

Speaking at parliamentary questions First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "For now we are in a race against the virus and we must slow it down.

"Today's numbers again show why that is necessary.

"The new variant is spreading rapidly and is making up around 60 per cent of cases and making it hard to bring down the R number.

"The rapid increase in cases appears to have slowed down but it is still to soon to be confident that it is safe to ease it yet in any way and all of this is having a severe impact on our health service.

"We must do all we can to drop case numbers which is why we have considered more changes which will take effect from Saturday."

She explained: "We intend to limit the availability of click and collect to only essential services.

"For those that are allowed staggered appointments will have to be set up and no inside collections will be permitted.

"We intend to restrict takeaways - any outlet will have to do so from a hatch or doorway.

"We intend to change rules around alcohol outdoors - it will be against the law from Saturday to drink outdoors in Level 4 areas.

"We intend to strengthen the obligation on employers to make staff work from home - we will introduce statutory guidance for employers - if they worked from home last year they should be now.

"On work inside houses, it is only for essential work to maintain homes.

"We are also to close a loop-hole in leaving homes for essential purposes to make it so that non-essential cannot be done while out of the house."

She said: "None of this gives me pleasure but the new cases mean we must be as tough as we can be to stop the virus spreading.

The new restrictions that will come into force this Saturday -

• Limiting the availability and operation of click and collect services to retailers selling only essential items – eg clothes and footwear, baby equipment, homeware and books.

• For click and collect services that are allowed, staggered appointments will need to be offered to avoid any potential for queuing, and access inside premises for collection will not be permitted.

• Customers will no longer be permitted to go inside to collect takeaway food or coffee. Please serve customers from a serving hatch or doorway.

• From Saturday, it will be against the law in all level 4 areas of Scotland to drink alcohol outdoors in public. Buying a takeaway pint and drinking it outdoors will not be permitted.

• Statutory guidance will be introduced to ensure that employers support employees to work from home wherever possible.

• In level 4 areas work inside homes is only permitted if it is essential for the upkeep, maintenance and functioning of the household.

• People must not leave or remain outside the home unless it is for an essential purpose.

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