POLITICS
13/01/2021 11:47 PM AEDT | Updated 14/01/2021 2:03 AM AEDT

Drinking Alcohol Outdoors Banned In Scotland's Covid Level 4 Areas

Nicola Sturgeon also cuts click-and-collect services, and imposes new rules about takeaways.

Drinking alcohol outdoors will be banned in all Covid level 4 areas of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has announced. 

In measures being brought in on Saturday, click-and-collect services for non-essential items will also no longer be allowed, the first minister of Scotland said. 

Meanwhile, anyone collecting a takeaway must pick up their food via a hatch or at the doorway – they can no longer walk into a restaurant and pick it up, as entering a hospitality business will be prohibited. 

Only retailers selling essentials, such as clothing, baby equipment and books, will be able to offer collection services, she said, and “staggered appointments” will be needed to end queuing. 

Updating MSPs in Holyrood on Wednesday, Sturgeon said there was some evidence lockdown “may be starting to have an effect” amid the new and more transmissible strain, but that it was “still too soon to be entirely confident”. 

“I know that businesses affected by this change will be disappointed and that many have gone to great lengths to make services as safe as possible,” she said. 

“But we must reduce as far as is possible the reasons people have just now for leaving home and coming into contact with others.” 

Banning alcohol outdoors means anyone who buys alcohol will have to drink it in their own home. The restriction is aimed at reducing contact between people. 

The Scottish government will also tighten up the legal framework around lockdown, forbidding people from leaving home for an essential purpose and then doing something considered not to be essential after they have left the house.

PA
A police vehicles passes a Coronavirus related poster on a phone box outside Glasgow Royal Infirmary

While the list of essential reasons for leaving home will not change, the FM said: “It does mean that if the police challenge you for being out of the house doing something that is not essential, it will not be a defence to say you initially left the house to do something that was essential.”

The SNP leader called on Scots to adhere to the spirit as well as the letter of lockdown rules. 

“Don’t think in terms of the maximum interactions you can have without breaking the rules," she said. 

“Think instead about how you minimise your interactions to the bare essentials to remove as many opportunities as possible for the virus to spread.

“In everything you do, assume that the virus is there with you – that either you have it or any person you are in contact with has it – and act in a way that prevents it passing between you.

“All of this means staying at home except for genuinely essential purposes – including working from home whenever possible.

“Except for essential purposes, do not have people from other households in your house and do not go into theirs.”

Laws requiring employers to allow staff to work at home will also be strengthened. 

New statutory guidance will be introduced urging employers to support workers to remain at home “wherever possible”.