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Article published 23/03/2020

Ban on public gatherings of more than two

The First Minister has called for an immediate stop to public gatherings of more than two people in Scotland in a bid to flatten the curve of COVID-19 spread and protect the NHS.

Following a meeting of the UK Government’s COBRA committee, an effective ban is in place on gatherings in public places, excluding household groups or in a work-related capacity.

In addition, all non-essential shops should be closed, as well as public spaces such as libraries, communal parks and playgrounds, and places of worship. The ban extends to ceremonial social events, such as weddings and christenings, with the exception of funerals which will be restricted to immediate family only. Full list of closures and exemptions.

The First Minister was clear that these decisions are not taken lightly ‘but are essential for the protection of all of us.’

The only permissible reasons to leave your home are as follows:

  • To shop for basic necessities and that should be limited to once a day
  • To take exercise once a day - but alone or with your own household, not in groups
  • For medical reasons or to care for a vulnerable person
  • To travel to essential work if that cannot be done at home. Further guidance to employers is pending.

In agreement with Police Scotland, officers will be permitted to deploy ‘soft enforcement’ of these measures, prior to the Scottish Government taking legal powers from Thursday.

The First Minister reiterated guidance of the Scottish Government for people to stay home and only venture outside when absolutely necessary. In line with existing advice, non-essential retail units are now required to close and shopping for basic necessities kept to a minimum.

Read what the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others.