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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced six new rules to strengthen the coronavirus lockdown and try to further reduce the spread of the virus, but a national organisation for small businesses has warned of the impact.
Ms Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament that from Saturday, nobody who lives in a Level 4 area should leave or remain outside their home except for essential purposes.
When you do leave home, only for essential purposes, you should only meet one person from a different household in a group no bigger than two
Working from home arrangements will be strengthened through updated statutory guidance. Working from home should now be the default position for all businesses and services, and only those who cannot do their job from home should be asked to go to the workplace.
Non-essential click and collect retail services will also be prohibited in Level 4 areas and further changes will be put in place to how services open for essential purposes operate. Timeslots will be required for collection and people should not enter a store to collect an item.
Click and Collect services offered by essential retailers can only continue for:
clothing and footwear stores
garden centres/plant nurseries
baby equipment shops
electrical goods (including repairs)
key cutting and shoe repair shops
Businesses providing takeaway food will also operate on a ‘non-entry’ basis only, meaning customers cannot enter the premises when placing or collecting orders.
Restrictions banning the consumption of alcohol in public places will also be introduced.
The provisions in relation to work in people’s houses have also been tightened, now making it law that only essential work is carried out.
‘The situation we face in relation to the virus remains extremely serious,’ said Ms Sturgeon.
‘We must continue to do everything possible to reduce case numbers – this is essential to relieve the pressure on our NHS and to save lives.
‘Both individually and collectively, these additional measures – in further reducing the interactions that allow the virus to spread – will help our essential efforts to suppress it.
‘At this critical and dangerous moment, please: Stay Home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.’
And the First Minister had a bit of good news, saying there are early signs the lockdown is having an affect so ‘we must stick with it’.
However, there was a warning from David Richardson, the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) Highlands and Islands Development Manager, who told the Lochaber Times of the flood of enquiries the organisation had received recently as lockdown rules tightened from Boxing Day onwards.
‘Judging from the many enquiries that I have received from Highland FSB members over the past fortnight, the attention of those businesses that must now cease trading or further restrict trading activities as a result of today’s announcement will quickly turn to where and when they can get the financial help and support from government that they will need to survive,’ said Mr Richardson.
‘Many will undoubtedly find that their businesses are ineligible, or that funds that could help them survive are yet to be launched, and they will also find that they have joined a long queue of businesses already in this position.
‘If we want to avoid the possibility of mass business closures across Scotland, all possible stops must be pulled out to get more money out of the door and into struggling firms’ hands now, before it’s too late.’
NO F24 David Richardson – FSB – 1 (2)