On 4th January 2021 the Scottish Government announced a new national lockdown in mainland Scotland to prevent the spread of the new, highly contagious strain of coronavirus (Covid-19).
The new measures make it a legal requirement to stay at home unless there is a reasonable excuse for leaving such as essential shopping, education, childcare or to support the vulnerable. Everyone must now work from home where they can.
Other key changes include:
- changing the 6/2 rule to a 2/2 rule. From tomorrow, a maximum of two people from up to two households will be able to meet outdoors. Children aged 11 and under will not be counted in that limit
- for everyone else – including 12 to 17 year olds – outdoor exercise or recreation should only take place in a way which is consistent with the 2/2 rule
- under 12s will not count towards the 2/2 rule and will continue to be able to participate in organised activities outdoors
- all schools to continue to use remote learning until the end of January, except in the case of vulnerable children and those of key workers
- stronger guidance on working from home is reflected in new guidance for people who are shielding. Those who are shielding and who cannot work from home are now advised not to work. The Chief Medical Officer is writing to everyone who falls into this category
The First Minister also told parliament that from Friday, 8 January a number of other measures will be taken including:
- closing places of worship. Since stay-at-home rules do not allow leaving the home to attend a place of worship for a service or for private prayer, these would be closed for all purposes other than broadcasting a service, or conducting a funeral, marriage or civil partnership ceremony
- reducing numbers allowed at a wedding ceremony or civil partnership registration to the legal minimum, i.e. 5 plus the possibility of an interpreter
- prohibiting wakes and post-funeral gatherings, so that only funerals and any associated ceremonies (stone settings, ash scatterings, etc.) can take place
- closing some additional premises, service providers and retailers. This would include showroom elements of larger retailers and ski centres
- ending the 1m physical distancing exemption for workplace canteens
The restrictions are expected to be in place for at least four weeks, but will be kept under review.
Commenting, Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:
“We’d all hoped the worst of the pandemic was behind us, but due to the emergence of the new strain of the virus we now face an extremely serious situation.
“Case numbers have risen rapidly, particularly in England where hospitalisations are now higher than the peak in April. In the past week alone more than 4,000 families across the UK have tragically lost a loved one to Covid-19.
“Another national lockdown is a daunting prospect; however, it’s the right thing to do and by acting now it gives the best chance of protecting our communities from the spread of the new variant.
“The rollout of the vaccine is underway in West Dunbartonshire and across the country – it will take time but we can and will get through this.
“I’d urge all my constituents to follow the stay-at-home guidance carefully and continue doing all they can to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.”
The full updated guidance on the new lockdown measures is available here: www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/