THE First Minister has announced a tightening of some restrictions to help reduce the spread of Covid-19.
Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Nicola Sturgeon said that the number of people who can meet with social distancing has been reduced to six people from two households.
The new rule will also be applied in hospitality venues.
Also in pubs and restaurants, it will now be mandatory for customers to wear face coverings when they are moving around and not eating or drinking.
Sturgeon explained: “As of now, up to eight people from three households can meet indoors. Larger outdoor gatherings are also permitted.
“I can confirm that we intend to change this, so that a maximum of six people from two households will now be permitted to meet together.
“To help reduce transmission – but also simplify the rules as much as possible – this new limit will apply both indoors, in houses, in pubs and restaurants, and also outdoors including in private gardens.
“There will be some limited exceptions, for example for organised sports and places of worship.
“Also, any children under 12 who are part of two households meeting up won’t count towards the limit of six people.
“Lastly, given the importance of these life events and the distress caused by not being able to mark them, we intend to allow a limited exception for funerals, weddings and civil partnerships.
“Already, up to 20 people can attend ceremonies for these occasions. We intend to retain that limit for now.
“However, from Monday, that limit of 20 will also be permitted for wakes and receptions, as long as they take place in regulated venues like hotels with strict guidance in place.”
The regulations that will give legal effect to the new rules will come into force on Monday, but people should follow the rules from now.
For people living in Glasgow, East or West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, the advice is not to visit other households at all.
Sturgeon went on: “Let me also re-emphasise that the new limit of six people from two households will apply in restaurants, pubs and beer gardens, as well as in our homes.”
She stressed the new rules for hospitality premises: “First, we intend to make it mandatory for customers in hospitality premises to wear face coverings whenever they are moving around and not eating or drinking – for example when entering and going to a table, or to the bathroom.
“And second, subject to some exemptions, we will also make it mandatory – rather than simply guidance – for staff working in hospitality premises to also wear face coverings.”
In her speech, Sturgeon also confirmed that lockdown would not be eased further as had been suggested previously.
She told the Chamber: “In my statement on August 20, I set out several changes that were provisionally scheduled for 14 September. However I stressed then that ‘given the volatility we face in transmission of the virus, there is a very real possibility that some or all of these plans could change.’
“Unfortunately, due to the rise in cases we have seen since then, we have concluded that these changes must be paused for a further three weeks.
“The new indicative date for their resumption is Monday October 5. However, I must stress that this remains an indicative date – a final decision can only be taken nearer the time.”
The First Minister explained this means spectators will not return to sports stadia over the next few weeks, however two pilot events this weekend will go ahead as planned.
Theatre, live music venues, indoor soft play facilities and indoor contact sports activities for those aged 12 and over will also not be resumed yet.
Working from home will remain the default position.
The First Minister went on: “The announcements I have made so far are hard for people to hear.
“I know that after six long, hard months, we are still asking the public to make a lot of difficult sacrifices.
“That is unavoidable, given the nature of the challenge we face.”
The First Minister’s announcement came as 161 new cases were recorded across Scotland over the last 24 hours.
That figure represents 1.9% of people newly tested and takes the number of cases in Scotland since the start of the pandemic to 22,039.
Provisional information showed 65 new cases were in Greater Glasgow, 46 were in Lanarkshire, 12 were in Lothian and eight were in Ayrshire and Arran.