Covid Scotland: Scots did not 'flock' to England for Hogmanay amid coronavirus restrictions, data shows

Data from Traffic Scotland and transport operators has revealed no rise in the number of travellers heading south of the border to celebrate the New Year despite harsher rules being enforced on Scottish hospitality.

Speculation in the lead up to Hogmanay suggested hundreds of people would be taking advantage of the differing rules in Scotland and England by heading south to celebrate Hogmanay at clubs, pubs and street parties.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said while there was nothing to stop party-goers heading to England for their Hogmanay celebrations, doing so would go against the “spirit” of the regulations put in place by the Scottish Government.

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Data obtained by the Scotsman now confirms that despite concerns, Scots largely followed the advice and no notable increase in passengers travelling south was recorded between December 30 and January 1.

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Train operators LNER, Avanti West Coast and TransPennine Express, along with coach operators National Express and Megabus, all reported no increase in travel.

Traffic Scotland confirmed that traffic flow at the M6 Gretna and A1 Burnmouth border crossing sites did not spike and was in line with data recorded on Hogmany in 2019/2020, the last pre-pandemic New Year celebration.

Data shows on December 31, 2021, 13,273 vehicles crossed the M6 Gretna border southbound, in comparison to 13,266 in 2019.

Covid Scotland: Scots did not 'flock' to England for Hogmanay amid coronavirus restrictions data shows

While 4,382 vehicles crossed southbound on the A1 at Burnmouth this year, in comparison to a 4,625 on Hogmanay 2019/2020.

On New Year’s Day data actually showed a drop in the number of vehicles crossing the border this year, with 11,930 vehicles being recorded in total across the A1 and M6 in 2022, in comparison to 17,315 vehicles on January 1, 2020.

The new hospitality rules, implemented by the Scottish Government, which prompted concern around New Year celebrations came into force on Boxing Day and included social distancing measures, limits on indoor and outdoor social gatherings and the re-implementation of table service at venues which serve alcohol.

On Monday, December 27, 2021, all nightclubs were forced to close for a minimum period of three weeks, at which point the Scottish Government will review the restrictions.

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