Coronavirus in Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon says people should stay at home from Boxing Day and guidance could become law

The Scottish Government could put into law guidance forbidding travel outside your immediate local area, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Speaking in her Tuesday briefing to parliament, she outlined plans for the next few weeks, on the back of Saturday’s announcement that mainland Scotland will go into Level 4 restrictions on Boxing Day.

The restrictions advise against travelling into different areas, however, the First Minister hinted that the Scottish Government could make this new, tighter travel ban – requiring Scots to stay closer to home – enforceable by law.

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While current Level 4 restrictions prevent people from leaving their local council area unless it is essential, Ms Sturgeon said from Saturday the “strong advice” would be for people to stay local and “at home as much as possible”.She told MSPs at Holyrood: “In level 3 and level 4, the law currently prohibits non essential travel outside your own local authority area.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon arrives ahead of delivering an update on Covid restrictions in the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh. PA Photo.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon arrives ahead of delivering an update on Covid restrictions in the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh. PA Photo.

“However, for those living in level 4 areas - which from Saturday will be the vast majority of us - our strong advice is to stay as local as possible and at home as much as possible.

“We will be considering in the days ahead whether we need to place that advice in law."

The Level 4 restrictions will be applied across Scotland for three weeks beginning on Boxing Day, Nicola Sturgeon said, but will be reviewed after 14 days.

This will mean hospitality businesses will have to close for all but takeaways, and that non-essential shops will also be forced to shut their doors.

The First Minister added: “To be blunt with Parliament and the public, the current Level 4 restrictions are not as stringent as the March lockdown.

“However, it seems that we are facing a virus that spreads much faster now than in March, so we need to consider whether the current Level 4 restrictions will be sufficient to suppress it.”

She also said that with the growing crisis at Dover that after Christmas some fresh food supplies could be affected.

"We have no immediate concerns about food supplies. Supermarkets are well stocked. And so there is absolutely no need for anyone to buy more than planned.

“Of course, if the situation is not resolved in the next day or so, we may start to see pressure on some fresh produce after Christmas - but that is not a concern right now and I hope it will not arise at all.”

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