Scotland to tighten lockdown rules on retail from Saturday

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gestures as she makes a statement to the Scottish Parliament on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain November 17, 2020. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

Scotland will tighten its lockdown measures to restrict non-essential retailers from offering “click-and-collect” services and limit how takeaway food and drink can be sold from Saturday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

A national lockdown was announced for mainland Scotland on 4 January, shortly before UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced similar measures for England.

Sturgeon said that a rapid increase of cases caused by a new variant of the coronavirus appeared to be slowing down, but said it was not an indication that it was safe to ease lockdown, adding that more needed to be done.

“Case numbers are still so high, and the new variant is so infectious that we must be as tough, and as effective as we possibly can be to stop it spreading,” Sturgeon said on Wednesday.

“That does mean taking further steps to stop people from meeting and interacting indoors, and also outdoors. Today’s measures will help us to achieve that. They are a regrettable but necessary means to an end.”

She said that only essential retailers would be able to offer click-and-collect services, while customers will not be allowed indoors to pick-up takeaway food and drink, which must instead be served from a hatch or doorway.

Sturgeon said that it would be illegal to drink alcohol outdoors in mainland Scotland, ironing out previous local differences in the rules, and would strengthen the obligation on employers to support people to work from home.