Sturgeon extends restrictions for Scotland as Covid-19 pandemic shows few signs of abating

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that Scotland’s two-week circuit breaking restrictions will be extended by a further seven days as advisers warn against reopening the hospitality sector on Monday.

Pubs, bars and restaurants across Scotland’s central belt must remain closed for a further week, following an announcement on Wednesday by Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon during the daily coronavirus briefing. Financial support for businesses forced to close would also be extended.

Sturgeon claimed she was aware of the financial and emotional challenge these restrictions were causing. “I know all of this is really unwelcome and I know that these restrictions are harsh,” she added.

The hospitality industry has been shut since October 9 and was intended to reopen on October 25. Under the new plans, pubs, bars and restaurants won’t be able to reopen until November 2 at the earliest. The restriction against gathering in homes will also be extended by one week. 

The first minister claimed there was reason for “cautious optimism” in that the restrictions were working, although new infections remained high.

On Tuesday, 1,739 new Covid-19 infections were registered, with an additional 28 deaths – the highest daily number since May, according to Sturgeon.

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In mirroring the move made by Boris Johnson’s government in England, Sturgeon claimed that her government would be publishing a tiered system of restrictions on Friday which would be effective from November 2.

The tiered system will replace the current arrangement which has seen the heavily populated central belt, which includes Glasgow and Edinburgh, hit with the hardest restrictions, whilst the rest of the country has been subjected to more minor measures.

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