Nicola Sturgeon announces gatherings limited to six after rising Covid-19 cases
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has today announced that Scots will now be restricted to gatherings of six people in a fresh Covid crackdown.
The SNP leader told Scots to start observing the new rules immediately, but they will take legal effect from Monday.
Other changes planned for next week such as a return for fans to football matches and a return of live venues such as theatres have also been put on hold. The First Minister warned today that the new restriction of groups of six, mirroring the new approach in England, is needed because the virus is "accelerating" again.
"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," Ms Sturgeon said.
"As of now, up to 8 people from 3 households can meet indoors. Larger outdoor gatherings are also permitted.
"I can confirm that we intend to change this, so that a maximum of 6 people from 2 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."
The R number, the number of people which each infected Scot passes the virus onto, is now estimated to be above 1 - possibly as high as 1.5 - MSPs were told.
"So rather than the threat to public health receding, the pandemic is at this stage accelerating again - albeit, and thankfully, from a low base and not as rapidly as it was back in March and April," Ms Sturgeon added.
An exception to the new limit of six will also be made for funerals, weddings and civil partnerships which will still see 20 guests allowed.
Ms Sturgeon added: "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."
A number of changes that which had provisionally been scheduled for 14 September. have now been put on hold until October 5, although a final decision will be taken nearer the time.
Ms Sturgeon added: "That means spectators will not be able to return to sports stadia and other venues over the next three weeks. There are two pilot events due to take place this weekend which will proceed.
"However, after that we will judge possible pilot events on a case by case basis, and in light of the latest COVID data.
"The other services and venues affected by this pause are theatre, live music venues, indoor soft play facilities and indoor contact sports activities for people aged 12 and over.
"In addition, outdoor events that have not yet been given the green light, such as those where a lot of people stand closely together, cannot yet restart."
The prospect of a return to workplaces has also been put on hold.
"The reopening of call centres and offices where staff are still working from home will be reviewed again on 1 October, but will definitely not take place before then," Ms Sturgeon added.
"For now, working from home will remain the default position."
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