Sturgeon reveals three council areas to face tougher restrictions in Scotland

Three council areas – Angus, Fife and Perth and Kinross – will move into Level 3 of Scotland’s coronavirus restrictions from Friday, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister announced the decision to MSPs in the Scottish Parliament as she gave an update on coronavirus measures.

By joining the central belt, Dundee and Ayrshire in Level 3, pubs and restaurants in Angus, Fife and Perth and Kinross will be prohibited from selling alcohol and will close at 6pm, with last entry at 5pm.

Meanwhile, indoor exercise is now limited to individual workouts, with outdoor contact sports for those over the age of 18 banned, except professional sports.

Covid-19 restrictions in Scotland
Covid-19 restrictions in Scotland

No other local authority areas will change tiers at the moment but Ms Sturgeon said moves to Level 4 for some “cannot be ruled out” in the near future.

She said the number of new cases in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, West Lothian and West Dunbartonshire has stabilised but at a “stubbornly high level”.

Sharp rises have also been noted in Inverclyde and Stirling and, to a lesser extent, South Ayrshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire.

While Ms Sturgeon said the expert advice is “an immediate move to Level 4 would not be merited”, she said these places would be monitored closely “on a daily basis”.

Other areas in the central belt – including the City of Edinburgh – may be able to move down a tier “relatively soon”, Ms Sturgeon said.

Five council areas – Highland, Moray, Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles – will remain at Level 1.

From Friday, residents in the three island authorities will be able to meet with one other household inside their homes “up to a strict maximum of six people”, the First Minister said.

Speaking about the decision to move the three areas – in which more than 600,000 people live – to Level 3 restrictions, Ms Sturgeon said: “The most recent data shows that, in the space of a week, the seven-day number of cases per 100,000 of the population has increased in Perth and Kinross by 32%, in Fife by 40% and in Angus by 47%.

“The advice of the chief medical officer and national clinical director is that Level 2 restrictions may not be sufficient to slow down and reverse increases of this magnitude and, as a result, an early move to Level 3 was strongly recommended.”

She added: “I know this will be disappointing to residents and businesses in these areas.

“However, by acting now, we can hopefully prevent an even more serious deterioration in the situation in the future.”

Ms Sturgeon said travel restrictions continue to be “essential” in the multi-tiered approach being taken by Scotland.

While ministers have been considering putting these into law, she said they will remain as guidance over the next week.

She warned people the work to give the guidance legal backing continues, saying the Scottish Government “continue to prepare the regulations and resolve the practical issues that would be required to put them into law”.