The First Minister has announced the move from Level 3 for Stirling as of Friday, to “protect the NHS” and make easing of restrictions at Christmas more likely
The First Minister has just announced that Stirling has been allocated Level 4 status in today’s COVID briefing in Parliament, pointing to “stubbornly high infection rates” as a key point of concern.
Addressing Parliament just minutes ago, Ms Sturgeon articulated concern for increasing infection rates and hospitalisations within areas of Scotland, with a priority of protecting the NHS during the winter months at the forefront of policy direction.
Sturgeon stressed the important of adhering to new restrictions as infection rates fail to meet a lower baseline in key areas of Scotland, stating that “an end to all of this is within our grasp,” referring to new vaccine developments and promising results in clinical trials.
Mitigating the impact of COVID until the possibility of vaccination is the First Minister’s key priority, so that unnecessary loss of life does not occur so close to potentially seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
Stirling is one of the most concerning areas for the Scottish Government, with the First Minister having articulated a worry about community transmission in Stirling that is not lowering. As a result of a failure to observe drops in infection rates and hospitalisations, Stirling, alongside some other areas of Scotland previously in Level 3 such as Glasgow; Renfrewshire; East Renfrewshire; West Lothian; and West Dumbartonshire, are all entering into Level 4.
Level 4 is intended to be “short and sharp” and is specifically designed to hard-tackle areas with “stubborn” infection rates until being lifted on December 11.
Although Sturgeon outlined plans for a cessation to Level 4 before Christmas, it very much depends on how successful Level 4 restrictions are in reducing infection rates. The First Minister has articulated that these restrictions will be examined closer to the time to assess the risk level of the area.
Level 4 restrictions entail that individuals within these areas stay indoors unless for essential services. Residents are advised to stay indoors or close to home as much as possible. Less interaction will lead to less transmission, so it is imperative to isolate unless it is essential to leave home.
Essential retail will remain open, however many shops will be closed while Stirling is in Level 4.
Hairdressers, gyms, and all services where close contact is required will be closed, alongside all hospitality including restaurants, cafes, and pubs. Take-aways will remain open for the public, delivery only.
The tourism industry will also face closures, with hotels open only for essential customers.
The First Minister also announced plans to legislate travel bans between areas, stressing the absolute importance of remaining within your specific area. The travel guidance will become law, and if individuals travel from one area to another in high enough numbers, a Level 2 or 3 area could face Level 3 or 4 restrictions respectively as a result of this movement.
“Putting it bluntly, evidence of travel will mean increased restrictions for other areas,” Ms Sturgeon said in her address.
Nicola Sturgeon says the pandemic is “taking its toll on all of us,” and some much more than others.
However, she says the action she is taking today is “necessary” to protect “ourselves and those we love” from the virus, and to protect the NHS.
She thanks everyone for their sacrifices and asks people to stick to the rules and stick together.
Nicola Sturgeon says “we hope and expect” the tightening of restrictions will allow the areas put in Level 4 to move down to Level 2 quicker than would otherwise have been the case.
She reiterated that, except for some very limited purposes – such as childcare, caring for someone vulnerable, exercise, or shopping for essential goods – people living in Level 4 areas should not be out and about over the three-week period.
Feature Image Credit: BBC Scotland