Scotland Covid update: Will there be a lockdown at Christmas?

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon laid out fresh advice and guidance for the Scottish public, businesses, and employees while addressing the Scottish Parliament.

Tuesday, 14th December 2021, 2:57 pm

As we draw closer to Christmas and Omicron cases continue to rise in Scotland, many were beginning to fear a repeat of 2020’s lockdown just before the holiday.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon spoke to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday December 14th to address these concerns.

She laid out new advice and guidance for the public, businesses, and employers to help curb the spread of the new Covid variant.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addressed the Scottish Parliament today to outline fresh guidance and advice for the nation in the face of the Omicron variant. Photo: Fraser Bremner/pool/Getty Images.

Ms Sturgeon also emphasised the importance of booster jabs for those who have had their first two doses and for those who are as yet unvaccinated to get their first and second doses at the first opportunity.

Here’s what the First Minister said about fresh guidance ahead of Christmas and whether we should expect a lockdown at Christmas.

Will there be a lockdown at Christmas?

When Ms Sturgeon broached the topic of Christmas, calling it her “hardest request today”, she was quick to state that the Scottish Government is not asking the public to restrict household mixing over the festive period, as it did last year.

“I want to be clear, I am not asking anyone to ‘cancel’ Christmas,” the First Minister said. “But in the run up to and in the immediate aftermath of Christmas, I am asking everyone to reduce as far as possible, and to a minimum, the contacts we have with people in other households. I will say more about Christmas Day in a moment.

“We are not banning or restricting household mixing in law as before. We understand the negative impact this has on mental health and wellbeing.”

However, Ms Sturgeon went on to request that the Scottish public reduce and minimise social mixing outside of households as much as possible both before and after Christmas.

When it comes to Christmas Day, Ms Sturgeon had specific advice for people who will hold family celebrations.

This includes reducing contact with others in advance of and after Christmas, keeping celebrations as small as family circumstances allow, making sure everyone in your gathering is vaccinated and has done a test in advance, keeping rooms ventilated, and following strict hygiene rules.

Ms Sturgeon also stated that places of worship will remain open for Christmas, with “appropriate mitigations” in place.

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What did Nicola Sturgeon say in her Covid update?

Outside of addressing guidance around Christmas Day, Ms Sturgeon asked businesses to return to the contact tracing and limiting measures from earlier in the pandemic, including taking customer contact details.

She said that more detailed guidance would be released for business use later this week.

The First Minister also stated that employers that enabled working from home earlier in the pandemic have a legal duty to do so again now.

Ms Sturgeon outlined the financial support that will be made available to those who need it, including around £100 million that the Scottish Government intends to use to help businesses, mainly those in the hospitality and food supply industries that are affected by recent advice from this week and last week.