Nicola Sturgeon urges Scots to stay at home for Christmas

Scots should stay in their own homes at Christmas, Nicola Sturgeon has urged.

If people feel it is “essential” to meet with others indoors, she said this should be for one day only and not overnight.

Scotland’s First Minister said her Government intends to issue strengthened guidance on Christmas coronavirus regulation relaxations later on Wednesday and hopes this will have been agreed UK-wide.

She said governments across the UK to “not intend to take away the flexibility” over Christmas, where coronavirus restrictions have been relaxed to allow up to eight people from three households to meet between December 23 and 27.

The First Minister told the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing: “That in my view wouldn’t be fair at this stage and wouldn’t be realistic either and may risk undermining, rather than strengthening, compliance with the overall Covid guidance.”

But she said the Scottish Government would strengthen its guidance to people on “whether and how they make use of the flexibility”.

Ms Sturgeon added she hopes there can be a four nations agreement on a “clear and united” message to the public, and discussions between the devolved leaders and UK Government continue.

Nicola Sturgeon
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said people should stay in their own homes this Christmas (Andrew Milligan/PA)

She outlined principals the Scottish Government is working to, stressing these have not yet been agreed across the UK.

She said: “Firstly and unequivocally the safest way to spend Christmas this year for you and for those you love is to stay within your own household and your own home.

“My strong recommendation is this is what you should do if at all possible.”

She said any mixing with other households should take place outside, if possible, but if it is “essential” to meet indoors, people should limit the time of that meeting and the numbers involved as much as possible.

Ms Sturgeon recommended those people forming a Christmas bubble should only meet up with people on one day, if possible, and not stay overnight “unless it is unavoidable”.

NS: "You should also limit numbers as far as possible – three households is a maximum that tries to account for the fact that families come in all shapes and sizes, but two would be better. In short, if you have to form a bubble, keep it as small as possible."

— The SNP (@theSNP) December 16, 2020

She stressed the need to limit numbers, saying: “In short if you have to form a bubble keep it as small as possible.”

The First Minister went on to say the Scottish Government recommends against travel from areas with a high prevalence of coronavirus to parts of the country with a lower prevalence.

She added: “If you haven’t made plans to form a bubble, please don’t.

“If you are still swithering, please decide against. And if you have made plans but think they are not really essential, please think about postponing until later in the year.

“The reality is that this Christmas simply can’t be normal. But we have every reason to hope that next year’s will be much more normal.”

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