Scotland could adopt a ‘three tier’ lockdown system - here’s how it would work

The introduction of the new system could coincide with the end of the current restrictions, on 25 October (Photo: Fraser Bremner - Pool/Getty Images)
The introduction of the new system could coincide with the end of the current restrictions, on 25 October (Photo: Fraser Bremner - Pool/Getty Images)

It has been announced that a tiered lockdown system could be implemented in Scotland by the end of October.

The news comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled England’s three tiered lockdown system in the House of Commons on Monday (12 Oct).

What did Nicola Sturgeon say?

Speaking during her daily coronavirus briefing on 12 October, Scotland’s First Minister explained that a new system could be implemented to coincide with the end of the current restrictions on 25 October.

She said, “The main topic of discussion this morning was the UK government’s proposal for a three tier system of alerts for different parts of England. We saw the detail of their proposal this morning but we will look at it very closely.

“As I said to parliament last week, we intend to develop our own tiering framework and take that to parliament after the October recess, and of course that will coincide with the ending of the temporary reset restrictions announced last week.”

Ms Sturgeon explained that “at a strategic level”, she would be looking to align the system as closely as possible with the other UK nations.

“Though I would stress that operational decisions about which tiers might apply in which parts of our nations will be for each of us to take at a devolved level,” the First Minister added.

She did not give any further details about what a Covid-19 tiering system might look like in Scotland.

How do the tiers work in England?

In England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced a three tiered system for local Covid-19 alerts.

He said, “We will not simplify and standardise our local rules, by introducing a three tiered system of local covid alerts in England set at medium, high and very high.”

The alert system goes as follows:

Medium (tier one): Will cover most of the country and consists of the current national measures, which includes the rule of six and the closure of hospitality venues at 10pmHigh (tier two): This would include tougher restrictions, including not being able to mix with other households indoorsVery high (tier three): This alert level will be applied to areas causing the most concern, and will include baseline measures of prohibiting social mixing indoors and in private gardens and pubs and bars closing

Johnson said that the very high alert level will be implemented in Merseyside, explaining that from Wednesday 14 October - as well as the baseline of tier three measures - the likes of gyms, leisure centres, betting shops, adult gaming centres and casinos will close.

What are the current rules in Scotland?

On Wednesday 7 October, Nicola Sturgeon announced a host of new coronavirus restrictions for parts of Scotland.

Across the majority of Scotland, all premises may only open indoors between 6am and 6pm, with no sale of alcohol permitted.

All premises are permitted to open outdoors until 10pm, including for sale of alcohol, if they are licensed to do so.

A maximum of six people from two households can meet in hospitality settings.

There are exceptions to these new rules for:

takeaways, subject to local licensingspecific life events (such as weddings or funerals) which may continue with alcohol, as per the current meeting rules e.g 20 person limit in regulated premisesguests staying in accommodation, for transport and for student residences that are licensed premises

However, for five health board areas, the Scottish government has implemented tougher restrictions.

Those areas are:

Ayrshire and Arran health board, which comprises East, North and South AyrshireForth Valley health board, which comprises Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and StirlingGreater Glasgow and Clyde health board, which comprises Glasgow City, East Dunbartonshire,East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, Renfrewshire and West DunbartonshireLanarkshire health board, which comprises North and South LanarkshireLothian health board, which comprises City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian and West Lothian

In these five health board areas, the rules state that licensed premises must close, but only the parts of the premise where food and drink is served has to close.

“For example, the bar in a licensed clubhouse would have to close, but the shop could remain open,” the government explains.

Licensed cafes may remain open from 6am to 6pm, without the sale or consumption of alcohol.

Other unlicensed premises may remain open from 6am to 6pm, with meeting rules of a maximum of six people from two households.

No outdoor live events are allowed to take place.

When it comes to travel, government advice states, “Please think about whether you need to travel, specifically if you live in or would be travelling to, or through, the Central Belt.”

Ms Sturgeon added, “We are asking people living in these five health board areas to avoid public transport unless it is absolutely necessary - for example for going to school or work, if home working is not an option.”

It was also announced that group exercise classes for indoor gyms, sport courts and pools are no longer permitted, albeit with an exemption for under 18s.

Contact sports and training has also been banned, with the exception of professional athletes and under 18s.

During her speech on 7 October, Ms Sturgeon said that “gyms can remain open for individual exercise.”

Indoor snooker and pool halls, indoor bowling alleys, casinos and bingo halls have also temporarily closed.

This article originally appeared on The Scotsman