A new five tier system for Scotland will come into place on Monday 2nd November at 6am. But practically speaking, what does this mean. There is a great deal of confusion about the tiers and they were not set in stone until Wednesday evening after the Scottish Government's Parliamentary debate. The current situation is explained below.
At the First Minister's stated that the level a local authority will be placed in will be reviewed weekly. The proposals will be put to Parliament every Tuesday and the changes will take effect every Friday. Licensed trade premises will therefore have three days warning of changes coming into effect. The next update will be Tuesday 10th November, changes will come into effect from Friday 13th November and it will follow that pattern weekly thereafter.
Levels will be applied to a whole local authority area from Monday 2nd November, but the Scottish Government will review that and Council areas may be divided into sub areas if that is deemed necessary.
There will be no automatic application of a single statistic - the First Minister said these only inform and guide and the Scottish Government will, at first, be deliberately cautious. The hope is to slow rate of new cases and the overall aim is to get every Council area to level 1 then level 0 of the framework.
While people should be able to meet in tier 1 indoors, there is no indoor meeting allowed at present unless in a hospitality setting. This may change soon for those in level 1.
Dundee City was hoped to be in level 2 but is in level 3 due to statistics.
North and South Lanarkshire could still end up in level 4 depending on statistics which are being reviewed daily. The decision on whether to move these Councils into level 4 will also be reviewed daily - not very helpful for hospitality venues with perishable stock and staff rotas completed who may have to close at less than 24 hours' notice.
The First Minister stated all businesses affected can get help through the findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website.
A Christmas Loneliness strategy was also discussed. It is hoped the licensed and hospitality trades will be able to be open for Christmas and numbers able to meet indoors or in hospitality venues will be extended to facilitate family and friends meeting over the festive season and avoid loneliness and isolation.
The Scottish Government says it has expanded testing and will be taking steps to better support individuals, especially re self-isolation. A post code checker will be introduced to help businesses and individuals identify what area they are in therefore what level they fall into at any time. This will be particularly important if Councils are divided into sub areas as boundaries can be blurred and individuals and businesses need to be clear on what they can and cannot do.
The Council areas allocated to the various levels at present are:
- Level 1 - Highland; Moray; Orkney; Shetland; Western Isles
- Level 2 - Aberdeen; Aberdeenshire; Angus; Argyll & Bute; Borders; Dumfries & Galloway; Fife; Perth & Kinross
- Level 3 - City of Glasgow; City of Edinburgh; Clackmannanshire; Dundee; East Dunbartonshire; East Lothian; East Renfrewshire; East Ayrshire; Falkirk; Inverclyde; Midlothian; North Ayrshire; North Lanarkshire; Renfrewshire; South Ayrshire; South Lanarkshire; Stirling; West Dunbartonshire; West Lothian
- Level 4 - no Council area is in level 4 although there was discussion that North and South Lanarkshire could still end up in level 4 depending on figures.
What do the various tiers allow?
- Level 0 – Eight people from up to three households can meet indoors (with limited exceptions); fifteen people from up to five households can meet outdoors. Different rules apply to children and the Scottish Government will confirm this. Licensing curfews will be put in place and eating and drinking may only take place seated at tables - no vertical drinking (or eating). Takeaways are permitted for alcohol and food. Exceptions apply – hospitals, schools, student accommodation, airside premises, and hotel room service and meals for residents are excluded. Self-catering accommodation, hotels, B&Bs, self-catering, caravan and camp sites can open but restrictions above regarding socialising, hospitality rules and travel restrictions apply. Self-catering properties are still regarded as a private home so are still subject to the restrictions re numbers able to meet indoors. Non-essential travel is not allowed from a level 0 area to a level 3 or higher areas nor to equivalent areas in the rest of UK but there are exemptions for essential travel for work, education, shopping, health, outdoor exercise, weddings and funerals, shared parenting and transit through restricted areas. International quarantine regulations apply but otherwise travel is unrestricted.
- Level 1 - Six people from two households can meet indoors and outdoors but not from 2nd That will apply only outdoors and even level 2 areas cannot meet other families indoors except for the limited restrictions. Hospitality will in general be open but there will be a 10.30pm curfew. Weddings and life events are restricted to a maximum of 20 people. Indoor contact sports for adults are not permitted. Only those who cannot work from home can go to their place of work. Informal childcare is allowed
- Level 2 - No indoor meeting is allowed, with limited exceptions. Six people from two households can meet outdoors and in hospitality settings. Licensed premises can only serve alcohol indoors with a main meal and only until 8pm. Premises can serve food, non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks outdoors until 10pm. Cinemas, bingo halls and amusement arcades can open. Gyms can open. Other leisure and entertainment premises are closed. Informal childcare is allowed.
- Level 3 - Cafes, pubs and restaurants can open until 6pm to serve food and non-alcoholic drinks but no sale of alcohol indoors nor outdoors. Leisure and entertainment venues, including cinemas, will be closed. Non-essential travel is not allowed out with an area in level 3. Indoor exercise is restricted to individuals - no dance or spin classes. Informal childcare is allowed. No indoor meeting is allowed, with limited exceptions. Accommodation, hotels, B&Bs, self-catering, caravan and camp sites can open but socialising, hospitality rules and travel restrictions apply. The Scottish Government guidance advises non-essential, leisure and tourism use is only to be by locals. Essential travel such as work-related travel can continue.
In summary level 3 for restaurants, cafes, bars, public houses means:
Indoors and outdoors – no alcohol; 5pm last entry; 6pm closed (a hard close - no drinking up time)
- Level 4 – similar to lockdown restrictions in place from March to July. Schools remain open but all non-essential shops, pubs and restaurants, gyms, libraries, barbers and hairdressers are closed. Some outdoor meeting will be allowed but that has to be clarified.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.