Scotland's postcode tracker launches as new five level system is brought into effect

A postcode checker has been launched to help people in Scotland check where their area is in the new five-tier restrictions which came into effect on Monday.

New measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic were brought in at 6am and affect Scots by local authority rather than health board area - with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warning the Scottish Government will not hesitate to increase the level of protection either locally or nationally if required.

The levels have been graded from zero to four, with no local authorities placed under the toughest measures at the highest level for now.

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Crowd of people walking wearing masks. New postcode tracker is launched today as the country's council areas enter new five level system picture: JPI Media

Levels 1, 2 and 3 are broadly comparable to the three tiers of restrictions currently set in England - before their national lockdown later this week - while Level 0 is similar to what was in place across Scotland in August when the virus was suppressed to very low levels.

Ms Sturgeon said: "Our new levels approach enables us to respond quickly and flexibly as required, particularly in areas where we are concerned about the rate at which the virus is spreading.

"It is important we all comply with the rules in our area if we are to successfully suppress the virus, avoid the need for tighter restrictions and protect the NHS.

"It's crucial that everyone knows what level their local authority is in and that they stick to the rules in their area.

"The postcode tracker (https://www.gov.scot/check-local-covid-level/) will be a vital tool in helping to ensure this happens."

The central belt - including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Stirling and Falkirk - has been joined by Dundee and Ayrshire in Level 3.

Here, there is no in-home socialising barring some exceptions, with outdoor groups in public places limited to six people from two households.

As well as the closure of drive-in events, cinemas, arcades and bingo halls, hospitality businesses are now prohibited from selling alcohol and must close at 6pm with last entry at 5pm.

Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen, Fife, the Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, Argyll and Bute, Perth and Kinross and Angus are in Level 2 - with the socialising rules remaining the same as Level 3.

Cinemas, amusement arcades and bingo halls are the only leisure facilities allowed to remain open and outdoor drive-in events are permitted - but indoor, outdoor and stadium events are not.

Indoor hospitality venues must also close from 8pm, with last entry at 7pm, and outdoor businesses need to shut at 10.30pm.

Elsewhere, Highland, Moray, Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland have entered Level 1.

Socialising is restricted to six people from two households inside and outside with a further curb on events - meaning only a small number of people will be seated indoors with restricted numbers outside.

Hospitality businesses must close by 10.30pm, both inside and outside, with the last entry permitted at 9.30pm.

The First Minister added: "People across Scotland have faced significant restrictions since late September as we work to stop the increase in Covid cases across the country.

"Prevalence of the virus is currently lower in Scotland than in other parts of the UK and there are some signs that those earlier restrictions may be starting to slow the rate of increase."

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