Latest local lockdown rules for Scotland

Scots in areas with severe Covid outbreaks will face being placed into near-full lockdowns under a new five-tier system unveiled by Nicola Sturgeon.

Jason Leitch, the Scottish Government's National Clinical Director, said he expected some form of coronavirus restrictions to still be in force in December, meaning traditional large family gatherings, like Christmas, are likely to be banned.

Those living in an area with the highest level would experience restrictions almost as severe as the full lockdown imposed across the UK in March, when there was a stay-at-home message and draconian limits on travel.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own devolved governments and separate health systems.

What are the new rules?

Scots face wide-ranging travel bans while shops, hairdressers and gyms in virus-hit areas would be shut down again under “complicated” new lockdown rules unveiled by Ms Sturgeon.

The First Minister has published proposals for her five-tier system for imposing local restrictions, which will come into force on November 2, and will be used to set rules for each of Scotland’s 32 council areas.

Under the highest level, to be imposed on areas where virus levels are “very high or rapidly increasing”, close to a full lockdown would be brought in, with non-essential shops shut and the possible re-imposition of the “stay at home” order.

Even Scots in areas not suffering from high infections face significant curbs on their liberty, with non-essential travel to be banned to areas in the second highest or highest tier. Those in hard-hit areas would be banned from leaving their council borders, with only limited exceptions, such as to go to work or for education.

Severe limits on gatherings between households will also remain in force, even in areas with low cases, meaning the chances of traditional family Christmases going ahead are in major doubt.

In a further blow for Scotland’s hospitality industry, pubs and restaurants are set to face significant further restrictions under the plan. They would be shut completely in the top level areas, banned from selling any alcohol in the second highest, and could serve alcoholic drinks indoors only with a main meal, or outdoors without a main meal, in middle-tier areas. 

Does Scotland have a tiered lockdown system?

A new tiered system of lockdown restrictions will come into force in Scotland on November 2 if approved at Holyrood, the First Minister said.

Ms Sturgeon said some areas might face stricter measures than those in force in the central belt, where licensed hospitality venues have been temporarily closed.

Setting out her plan, which is being consulted upon before a Holyrood vote on October 27, Ms Sturgeon said she did not want to take a “one size fits all approach if that is not warranted”, with restrictions to be tailored to each area’s level of infection.

What are the current restrictions?

In the meantime, from 6pm on October 9 until October 25, pubs and cafes are banned from serving alcohol indoors.

Outdoor venues can open until 10pm and are allowed to sell alcohol until that time. Indoor hospitality venues selling food and non-alcoholic drinks will operate between 6am and 6pm.

Five health board areas - Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire & Arran, Lothian, and Forth Valley - face stricter restrictions, with pubs and licensed cafes to shut to all but takeaway customers for the same period.

People in the five health boards under tougher restrictions have also been asked to avoid public transport unless absolutely necessary, and use it only when travelling to work, school or for other unavoidable reasons.

Snooker and pool halls, indoor bowling alleys, casinos and bingo halls are closed in these areas for two weeks from October 10. Contact sports and indoor group exercise for those 18 and over are suspended for the same period, as are outdoor live events.

Ms Sturgeon is also examining a travel ban between Scotland and the north of England after backing draconian cross-Border restrictions unveiled by the Welsh First Minister.

Ms Sturgeon said she "fully" supported a decision by Mark Drakeford to ban people from Covid hotspots in the rest of the UK travelling to Wales.