Coronavirus: Scotland extends COVID-19 restrictions as nation heads for new tiered system

·2-min read

Coronavirus restrictions in Scotland are being extended for another week, taking the nation into a new tiered system.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said details of the new system will be published on Friday and the measures will be implemented from 2 November.

Restrictions put in place two weeks ago on hospitality businesses had been due to end on 25 October.

The measures have also forced the closure of snooker and pool halls, indoor bowling, casinos and bingo halls in the central belt.

People are also banned from visiting each other's homes unless they are part of an extended household.

The restrictions will now be in place until a tiered system is introduced on 2 November, with different measures for different areas.

Ms Sturgeon said that while there is "cautious optimism" the restrictions are working, Scottish ministers were told by advisers that it would not be safe to lift the measures from Monday.

The first minister continued: "The extension allows us to transition more smoothly to the new levels system that we hope will be introduced on 2 November."

Ms Sturgeon said she understands the extension of measures in Scotland is "harsh" financially and emotionally.

Speaking at the coronavirus update in Edinburgh, the first minister said: "I know all of this is really unwelcome and I know that these restrictions are harsh.

"They are harsh financially for many individuals and businesses, and they are harsh emotionally for all of us.

"I want to stress again that none of these decisions are being taken lightly - this is all about trying to save lives and minimise the health damage that we know this virus is capable of doing."

She added financial support will be extended to help businesses impacted by the extension of restrictions.

The first minister said full details of that support will be published online, but the business support grants and top-ups for the furlough scheme will be extended.

She said Scottish businesses will receive "proportionally the same" amount of support in the extra week of the restrictions as they did in the previous 16 days.

The Scottish Government will also outline levels of support to be offered to firms in the new tiered system of restrictions to be published on Friday.

However, she said the financial support outlined in the framework will be the maximum amount which can be offered by her devolved administration.

Ms Sturgeon spoke as 28 more coronavirus deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, with 1,739 new positive tests.

This is the highest number of fatalities since 21 May.

Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish government believes the restrictions have been having a positive effect.

She said: "Even allowing for today's figures, we think that we might be starting to see a reduction in the rate at which new cases are increasing."