Sturgeon to confirm if further easing of Covid restrictions can take place
Nicola Sturgeon will confirm “whether and to what extent” plans to further ease coronavirus restrictions can take place next week .
Under the Scottish Government’s Covid route map, Scotland was scheduled to move into Level 1 restrictions from June 7.
But a recent spike in infections has forced ministers to keep the entire Glasgow City Council area under Level 3 restrictions – meaning bars and restaurants can not serve alcohol indoors and get-togethers inside people’s homes are also barred.
Ms Sturgeon has already warned that Glasgow may “have to be in Level 2 for a couple of weeks before it moves to Level 1”.
She is due to reveal if the move to Level 1 can go ahead in a statement to MSPs at Holyrood on Tuesday afternoon.
But Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has insisted Scotland should be able to move to Level 1 on June 7, as he called on the Scottish Government not to leave whole areas behind if restrictions are relaxed.
Mr Ross said: “The success of Scotland and the UK’s vaccine scheme means we can now be far more positive about easing restrictions.”
The Tory added: “Everyone understands that there will be a need for local, targeted measures when an outbreak occurs.
“But leaving behind whole areas should be ruled out. Sweeping measures that unnecessarily hurt a whole city or council area are unfair on businesses and local people waiting to get on with their lives.”
Mr Ross argued: “Selectively imposing restrictions and targeting resources at smaller areas is entirely possible. The blanket council-wide approach is not the only plausible option.
“The one-size-fits-all approach should be replaced by targeted interventions to tackle local outbreaks.
“For the sake of jobs, businesses and people’s mental health, the country has to move forward together as much as possible.”
A move to Level 1, if it goes ahead, would allow up to eight people from three households to meet indoors in pubs, cafes and bars, while up to 12 people from 12 different households could socialise together outside in gardens or outdoor public places.
Following the announcement on Tuesday, Health Secretary Humza Yousaf will open a parliamentary debate on Scotland’s recovery from the pandemic.
He said: “The NHS and our wider health and social services have adapted at a phenomenal speed and scale to meet the challenges of this pandemic, whilst maintaining exceptional standards of delivery.
“We must help those services and staff to adapt further, as they continue to respond to Covid and face pre-existing non-Covid challenges.
“We will lead Scotland’s recovery with an ambitious recovery plan that ensures our NHS addresses both mental and physical health, as well as the aspects of wellbeing that have been affected by the pandemic.
“I have committed to work cross-party, and will produce our National Recovery Plan within the first 100 days of the new Government.”