Statement given by the First Minister to the Scottish Parliament
The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced from 5 January for the duration of January, a legal requirement to stay at home except for essential purposes. This is similar to the lockdown of March last year.
By law, in a level four area, you can leave your home (or garden) only if you have a reasonable excuse to leave your home except for an essential purpose.
Read the stay at home guidance for regulations which come into effect on 5 January 2021.
Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed the new COVID variant now accounts for almost half of all new cases in Scotland with concern at rising case numbers and hospital capacity. During her statement she said:
In short, NHS services are coping at present – although the pressure on frontline staff is considerable - but already in some areas the position is fragile, and getting more challenging.
And if the rate of increase in case numbers that we have seen in past two weeks was to continue unchecked, there would be a real risk of our NHS being overwhelmed - even with contingency plans in place.
In fact, our modelling suggests that without further intervention, we could breach inpatient Covid capacity within 3 or 4 weeks.
And, of course, a sharply increasing number of cases, in human terms, means many more people becoming ill and dying.
All of that explains why we have to act quickly and decisively.
New measures apply to those parts of Scotland currently at level four - all of mainland Scotland - and are effectively an enhancement to level four.
This will see those areas returning to a position similar to the lockdown of last March and will be in place for the whole of January (although, this will be monitored and may be longer).
The island areas currently in level three will remain there for now.
Additional level four restrictions from 5 January
- A legal requirement to stay at home except for essential purposes - this will include, for example, caring responsibilities, essential shopping, exercise and being part of an extended household.
- Anyone who is able to work from home, must do so - it will only be a reasonable excuse to leave your home to go to work, if that work cannot be done from home.
- The law already requires many businesses in certain sectors to close in level four.
- New guidance for people who are in the shielding category.
- Unlike the lockdown last year, the frequency of outdoor exercise is not being limited, however, from 5 January 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).
- Strict travel restrictions remain in place across Scotland - if you live in a level four area - you cannot leave your home except for an essential purpose. When you do go out, stay as close to home as possible and stay away from crowded places.
- No-one is allowed to travel into or out of Scotland unless it is for an essential purpose.
Additional level four restrictions from Friday 8 January
- Places of worship will be closed except for broadcasting or for permitted services.
- Funerals and wedding numbers are being restricted (five for weddings and civil partnerships, 20 for funerals) and wakes will not be permitted.
- The current one-metre exemption for workplace canteens will end – so canteens will have to ensure that employees sit two-metres or more apart, rather than one-metre.
- The number of non-essential services which remain open will be further restricted. Premises which will need to close as a result of these changes will include, for example ski centres, showrooms of larger retailers, and clinics offering cosmetic and aesthetic procedures.
- Schools will remain closed to the majority of pupils until 1 February. This will be reviewed in mid-January.
Tourism and hospitality businesses remain closed under level four. Read the stay at home guidance.
Grants are available for businesses required to close as a result of restrictions. That support is in addition to support through the UK wide furlough scheme. Take a look at our financial support page.
Take a look at this table with what it means for different situations such as socialising, workplaces, hospitality, visitor attractions and more.