Shops in Scotland will be stopped from offering non-essential “click and collect” services and takeaways banned from allowing customers into the building, in a further tightening of lockdown measures.
Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister, told the Scottish parliament shops would only be allowed to offer click and collect for essential goods, such as clothes, shoes, baby equipment, books and homeware from Saturday 16 January.
“I must stress at the outset that the situation we face in relation to the virus remains very precarious and extremely serious,” she said, and welcomed voluntary decisions by retailers such as John Lewis to suspend click and collect. (See 9.39am.)
After announcing 79 further deaths, with 1,794 people in hospital with Covid, Sturgeon said shops must also stagger collection times by offering appointments, as she set out six further controls on people’s movements and interactions.
Those included banning any alcohol consumption outdoors across all level 4 areas, preventing people from buying takeaway beers to drink outside.
Sturgeon said the law in Scotland requiring people to stay at home would also be tightened up to make it clear people were not legally allowed to remain outdoors for non-essential reasons. That brought Scotland’s rules in line with those in the rest of the UK.
New statutory guidance would tell employers they were now required to help their staff work from home, and restrictions on builders or plumbers working on non-essential tasks in homes would be enforced in law.
Sturgeon said the current lockdown, which came into force across mainland Scotland on Boxing Day, seemed to be having an affect with the rate of increase in Covid cases slowing down. Even so, testing suggested the new highly infectious variant, B117, was now responsible for 60% of cases, up from 50% in late December.
She told MSPs:
Case numbers are still so high – and the new variant is so infectious – that we must use be as tough and as effective as we can to stop it spreading.
That means taking further steps to stop people from meeting and interacting, indoors and also outdoors. Today’s measures will help us to achieve that. They are a regrettable, but necessary, means to an end.