Social gatherings of people in Scotland will be limited to groups of six from two households both indoors and outdoors, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said today (September 10).
She also announced new tightened measures for the hospitality industry and workers planning to return to offices.
Scotland’s announcement comes as coronavirus infection rates there rise significantly and mean both England and Scotland now have rules limiting indoor and outdoor gatherings to no more than six people, unless it is for properly organised sport.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford is due to give the three-weekly update on Wales’ lockdown review on Friday, September 11, as infection rates here also rise significantly.
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Speaking to MSPs at Holyrood, Ms Sturgeon said given the rise in Covid-19 cases, putting these moves back was “the only responsible decision we can reach”.
She said: “We have concluded that it is necessary to tighten some existing restrictions, to help curb the spread of the virus especially between and within households.
“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.”
She added: “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.”
The First Minister said there would be some “limited exceptions” for the new limit of six people in any gathering, for organised sports and places of worship.
She added that any children under 12 who are part of two households meeting up would not count towards the limit of six people.
And she said: “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.”
In addition from Monday up to 20 people will be allowed to attend wakes and receptions “as long as they take place in regulated venues like hotels with strict guidance in place”.
Nicola Sturgeon said she was asking people to follow the new rules on gatherings immediately, but said the regulations that would give them legal force would come into effect from Monday.
In a tightening of the rules, she also said staff who are working from home should continue to do so.
She said the reopening of call centres and offices where staff are still working from home would “definitely not take place” before October 1 – when this will be reviewed.
“For now, working from home will remain the default position,” Ms Sturgeon said.
Nicola Sturgeon also announced new measures affecting the hospitality industry.
The Scottish Government will make it mandatory for customers in bars, restaurants and cafes to wear face coverings when they are moving around and not eating or drinking – for example when entering a premises, going to a table, or to the toilet.
In addition to this it will also become mandatory – rather than simply guidance – for staff working in hospitality premises to wear face coverings.
The First Minister said: “The hospitality industry has put a lot of effort into creating safe spaces for people to meet and we hope these additional protections will help ensure the sector can remain open, with high levels of compliance.”
The decisions follow similar choices set out for England by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday.
The country has now implemented a new “rule of six”, which retricts gatherings to a maximum of six people.
The restriction will be enforced by police who can issue fines for make arrests for non-compliance.
The Welsh Government will hold a coronavirus press briefing on Friday, following its 21-day review period.
It comes after cases have risen dramatically in Caerpilly, which entered a local lockdown earlier this week.
The First Minister has previously said he will not hesitate to reinstate restrictions in order to keep children in classrooms.