Covid Scotland: 'No first footing at Hogmanay', recommends John Swinney as restrictions announced

Scotland’s Deputy First Minister has recommended that people should stay at home, limit their social interactions and not go first footing at Hogmanay.

By Mark Davey and Hannah Brown
Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 6:48 am

Mr Swinney was speaking during an interview with LBC radio’s Eddie Mair and was being questioned on whether Christmas or Hogmanay is a bigger celebration in Scotland.

He spoke about first footing when traditionally, after midnight on January 1, to bring the house good luck, a tall dark man would knock, bringing a lump of coal and a wee dram.

Mr Swinney, speaking after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced tougher Covid-19 restrictions, said: “I would recommend no first footing, yeah.

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John Swinney, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister has recommended that people should stay at home, limit their social interactions and not go first footing at Hogmanay (Photo: Fraser Bremner/Daily Mail).

“I’d say to people to stay at home as much as they possibly can and to limit their social interaction from December 27 onwards, right into early January.

“We’re recognising, I think, that people want to spend time with their families.

“I think most families and folks get together around about Christmas time.

“I accept that Hogmanay, obviously Hogmanay is a massive Scottish celebration, but we think the degree of social interaction, that would happen around about that time, is just too much for us to be able to cope with, along with the celebrations that will take place at Christmas."

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Earlier on BBC Scotland’s Drivetime show Mr Swinney suggested last Sunday’s Scottish Football League Cup Final “could well have been” a super spreader Covid-19 event.

BBC Scotland Drivetime presenter Nick Sheridan asked Mr Swinney: “Was the Cup Final a super spreader event and why did it go ahead?”

Mr Swinney replied: “It could well be.

“I think it stands to reason that if we have large numbers of people, 50,000 fans travelling towards a sporting event in one particular part of the country, using multiple modes of transport and interacting with each other – there is a very high danger that will be a super spreader event.”

Mr Swinney’s comments come after the First Minister announced restrictions to come into force after Christmas Day.

From Boxing Day, outdoor events are being limited to 500 people as all Edinburgh Hogmanay events have been cancelled including the famous street party.

For a period of 3 weeks from December 27, hospitality venues must reintroduce table service for alcohol sales and one-metre distancing between groups of people.

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