Nicola Sturgeon warns further shops and businesses could close in Scotland under harsher lockdown rules

More businesses could face closure to get Covid-19 under control, the First Minister has warned.

More businesses in Scotland could shut as Nicola Sturgeon explores tightening restrictions on essential retail.
More businesses in Scotland could shut as Nicola Sturgeon explores tightening restrictions on essential retail.

Some retail outlets deemed ‘essential’ could be closed to provide fewer reasons for the public to go outside, Nicola Sturgeon told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

She said the Scottish Government was looking at whether restrictions around non-essential businesses could be tightened further to bring the lockdown announced on Monday January 4 closer to the one imposed in March last year.

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Ms Sturgeon said: “I hope the restrictions if people abide by them and people have been fantastic at abiding by restrictions all along and that’s not easy, if people abide by them I hope and believe we can see the case rise stem and hopefully cases start to decline but I’m not complacent about that yet, we are monitoring traffic numbers for example to see the extent to which this lockdown is keeping people at home.

“There is a question in my mind about whether we need to go a bit further in restricting non-essential business activities to cut even further the reasons that people have for being outside of their own home and that’s something I will be looking at with my advisers over the next few days.”

Under current restrictions, food retailers, off-licences, pharmacies, newsagents, building merchants, petrol stations, car repair garages, bicycle shops, taxi businesses, banks and other financial services, post offices, funeral directors, healthcare providers including dentists, vets, agricultural supplies shops, click and collect, storage and distribution facilities, car parks, public toilets, livestock markets or auctions and outdoor markets are allowed to continue operating.

This is wider than the restrictions in March with high street and local restaurants such as McDonald’s – which shut in the March lockdown – allowed to continue to offer takeaway services.

In March, the UK Government’s list of essential retail included supermarkets and food shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, newsagents, bicycle shops, home and hardware stores, laundrettes, garages, pet shops, post offices, and banks and was followed by the Scottish Government.

Further restrictions to business operation could see the banning of takeaways, the closure of click and collect, public toilets and off-licences based off the differences between the March and January lockdowns.

No decision has yet been made, but speaking at her daily coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon indicated that construction sites as well as click and collect services may be told to shut to “radically reduce interactions”.

She said: "In the last lockdown non-essential construction and manufacturing didn’t operate for a period, they’ve both done an awful lot to make their operations safer but we have to keep all of that under review.

"All employers should be reviewing their operations to allow as many people to work from home as possible, in particular they should only be asking people to come into work if it is for work that cannot possibly be done from home and if it is work that is genuinely essential.

"That also applies and this is a point I want to stress, that applies to takeaway businesses and to non-essential shops providing a click and collect service.

"If you can provide delivery services instead, you should do that and that will reduce the need for people to leave their homes and it will help all of us to fight this virus more effectively.”

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