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Last updated: Tuesday, 17 November, 2020, 16:58
- Level 4 restrictions for 11 local authorities
- Infection rate still ‘cause for significant concern’, says Sturgeon
- Frontline staff should be paid extra £2 per hour, says STUC
- 37 new Covid deaths in Scotland in last 24 hours
- FM confirmed a further 1,248 new cases of the virus in Scotland
Big Issue makes plea for public support
In a tweet following Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement that 11 Scottish local authorities would be placed in Level 4 of the regional lockdown system, The Big Issue asked the public to help their vendors as much as possible.
“As @NicolaSturgeon announced this afternoon,” the magazine tweeted, “some areas in Scotland will be going into a level 4 lockdown.
“This means that as of Friday, many of our vendors will be unable to sell. They will be out until 6pm on Friday so help support them if you can and buy a copy of @BigIssue.”
Christmas is usually one of the busiest times for the charity, which sells a bumper special issue costing £3 over the festive period.
Schools to remain open in Level 4 regions
Ms Sturgeon said that, despite arguments that schools should close to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the community, “our very clear view is that the harm done by closing schools significantly outweighs any impact that schools have on transmission.”
She added that guidance for how schools should operate in Level 4 areas was under review, and that Education Secretary John Swinney would publish a further evidence paper on school safety tomorrow.
What support can businesses receive?
In addition to the UK furlough scheme, all businesses that require to close, at any level, are eligible for a four-weekly grant of £2,000 or £3,000, depending on rateable value.
Grants of £1,400 or £2,100 are available to businesses that are open, but subject to trading restrictions.
Eligible businesses can apply for these grants now through their local authorities.
I can also confirm today that – in addition to this grant support – we are establishing a £30 million discretionary fund to enable local authorities to provide additional support for businesses where they consider that necessary or justified – for example, for businesses in supply chains, or to taxi drivers suffering an indirect effect. We will also make an additional £15 million available for newly self-employed people who have not been able to access other forms of support. And we are making an additional £15 million available to local authorities to help with the community and social impact of a move to level 4.
Lockdown level system working, says Sturgeon
Restrictions on household gatherings put in place in recent weeks has helped to control the spread of coronavirus in Scotland, the First Minister has said.
Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs the country had been on track to see 3,000 new cases per day.
She said: “That has not happened. Daily case numbers are almost a third of that.
“Prevalence in Scotland is also lower than in other UK nations.
“So we have made progress, but the overall level of infection remains higher than we need it to be. And the national picture is masking significant regional variation.”
Sturgeon ‘truly sorry’ for Level 4 announcement
This pandemic is taking its toll on all of us – and on some much more than others. I know that today’s decisions will add to that for many – and I am truly sorry for that.
Sturgeon warning to Scots in Level 4 regions: Do not travel to nearby areas
Travel outside Level 4 areas in Scotland could see other councils’ levels increase, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
After announcing 11 councils will be moved to the most strict restrictions from Friday, the First Minister warned against travel to areas where the virus is less prevalent.
Travel restrictions will be placed into law from Friday, meaning that movement into and away from Level 3 and Level 4 areas will be against the law.
She said: “To put it bluntly – and we will require to monitor this – if we see evidence that people from East or South Ayrshire are visiting places in North Ayrshire, or that people from Glasgow are going to Inverclyde, we would have no choice but to put these areas in Level 4 too.
“So it is essential that we all abide by travel restrictions.”
The First Minister added: “To underline how important this is, I can confirm that the guidance that has been in place in recent weeks will become law from Friday.”
Scotland to undertake geographic mass testing
Ms Sturgeon said that, later this week, the Health Secretary will set out to Parliament a plan to start vaccinating the most vulnerable “as soon as stocks of an approved vaccine are available”.
Ms Freeman is also expected to lay out the detail of plans to test care home visitors, NHS staff and students.
She will also announce a programme of geographic mass testing, drawing on the lessons of the pilot underway in Liverpool, and the options for extending testing to other groups of key workers.
Level 4 lockdown to be ‘short and sharp’
Placing council areas in Scotland into the toughest restrictions is intended to be “short and sharp”.
Announcing that 11 local authorities will be moved to Level 4 from Level 3 from 6pm on Friday, Nicola Sturgeon said the changes were intended to have an impact ahead of Christmas.
The First Minister told MSPs: “I know people are frustrated that other restrictions have remained in place longer than planned.
“But Level 4 is intended to be short and sharp. And in this situation, it is specifically intended to have an impact in advance of Christmas and the most challenging winter period.
“Lifting the Level 4 restrictions then – as we will do – also means that they will not be in place for most of the Hanukkah period – so again, while celebrations may be different, there will be a greater degree of freedom.
“We will assess nearer the time the level that will apply in each area when the Level 4 restrictions end on December 11.”
The First Minister added that she hoped the affected areas would be able to move to Level 2 “much more quickly than would otherwise be the case”.