Further measures to help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and limit non-essential contact will be introduced this weekend.
Nobody who lives in a Level 4 area should leave or remain outside their home except for essential purposes.
Working from home arrangements will be strengthened through updated statutory guidance. Working from home should now be the default position for all businesses and services, and only those who cannot do their job from home should be asked to go to the workplace.
From Saturday non-essential click and collect retail services will be prohibited in Level 4 areas and further changes will be put in place to how services open for essential purposes operate. Timeslots will be required for collection and people should not enter a store to collect an item.
Businesses providing takeaway food will also operate on a ‘non-entry’ basis only, meaning customers cannot enter the premises when placing or collecting orders.
Restrictions banning the consumption of alcohol in public places will also be introduced.
The new regulations apply to all parts of Scotland currently in lockdown and will come into effect at 00.01 on Saturday.
In a statement to Parliament yesterday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
The situation we face in relation to the virus remains extremely serious.
We must continue to do everything possible to reduce case numbers – this is essential to relieve the pressure on our NHS and to save lives.
“Both individually and collectively, these additional measures – in further reducing the interactions that allow the virus to spread – will help our essential efforts to suppress it.
At this critical and dangerous moment, please: Stay Home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.”
In setting out the additional measures, in respect of the hospitality industry, the First Minister went on to say:-
We intend to apply restrictions to takeaway services. Customers will no longer be permitted to go inside to collect takeaway food or coffee. Any outlet wishing to offer takeaway will have to do so from a serving hatch or doorway. This reduces the risk of customers coming into contact indoors with each other, or with staff.
We intend to change the rules around consumption of alcohol. At the moment, different parts of Scotland have different laws in relation to the consumption of alcohol in outdoor public places.
However, from Saturday, it will be against the law in all level 4 areas of Scotland to drink alcohol outdoors in public.
Again, I know this will not be a popular move, but it is intended to underline and support the fact that we should only be leaving home just now for essential purposes.
That includes exercise or recreation but not simple socialising and when you do leave the home, you should only meet one person from another household, in a group no bigger than two people.”
Updated Guidance, including a Q&A section will be available later this week.
Call for release of £21bn UK COVID-19 reserves.
Scottish Government Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes. is urging the UK Government to release £21.3 billion of reserves to help tackle the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19).
She has written to the Chancellor asking that the Scottish Government be given its share of the funds now. This would total around £1.7 billion if the whole amount was allocated to devolved spending areas.
The COVID-19 reserve was announced as part of the UK Spending Review in November and is intended for allocation in 2021-2022. The Scottish Government requires a guarantee of how much it will receive in order to effectively plan and allocate funds.
Ms Forbes said:-
We welcome the £8.6 billion received so far in COVID-19 consequentials. Virtually all of this has already been allocated and is being spent supporting our businesses, NHS, public services and the rollout of vaccines.
However, demand continues to outstrip the resources available and our inability to borrow on the financial markets, or even use unspent capital funding to address immediate needs, leaves us reliant on the UK Government.
The new strain of the virus and subsequent tightening of restrictions mean that further funding is required now. I urge the UK Government to release our share of these reserves so we can provide the maximum support to businesses and the health service during this critical period.
The Chancellor must also provide urgent clarity on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund – which is intended to replace EU structural funds – and the Levelling Up Fund ahead of the Scottish Budget on 28 January to allow us to plan effectively.”
Welcome boost for tourism industry with launch of new talent development programme.
Scotland’s crisis hit tourism and hospitality industries have received a welcome boost with the launch of a new Scottish Government funded leadership, management and supervisory training programme which will support and develop talent to enable effective recovery of the sector.
With most of the sectors closed for the foreseeable future and thousands of employees on furloughed leave or experiencing redundancy, the new Tourism and Hospitality Talent Development Programme, which will be delivered by the Hospitality Industry Trust (HIT) Scotland and the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), will motivate and develop top talent to lead the industry through recovery and rebuild from the significant impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on businesses within the sector.
The virtual programme was one of the key recommendations of the Tourism Task Force which provided independent recommendations for Scottish Ministers and the UK Government on the essential actions to support tourism and hospitality recovery in Scotland and will give the future leaders of Scotland’s tourism industry the skills, knowledge and networks to make an impact when the sector moves into recovery.
There will be 975 places available for this programme, with 13 groups of 25 people able to take part in each of the three categories – Supervisor, Manager, Leader and is open to anyone over the age of 16 working in the Scottish tourism and hospitality industry.
The programme is now open for applications; the closing date is 5th February with the programme scheduled to commence on 16th February. For more details click here.