Nicola Sturgeon EXTENDS Scotland’s circuit breaker by a week: Leader announces curfew and closure of pubs and restaurants in central belt will last until November 2 after Scotland records highest number of coronavirus deaths since May
- Closure of pubs and restaurants in central belt being extended to November 2
- Nicola Sturgeon said extension will allow for smooth shift to new tier system
- Came as Scotland recorded 28 Covid-19 deaths – highest number since May 21
Nicola Sturgeon today announced pub and restaurant closures across the central belt will be extended until November 2 after Scotland recorded its highest number of coronavirus deaths since May.
The First Minister imposed the closure of hospitality venues in Covid-19 hotspots as well as a 6pm indoor hospitality curfew in other areas earlier this month.
The rules were originally due to last for two weeks and end on October 26 but Ms Sturgeon said this lunchtime that the measures will have to be kept in place for longer.
She said extending the shutdown to November 2 would allow for a ‘smooth’ transition to a new tiered system of restrictions, scheduled to come into effect on the same date.
The original introduction of the measures prompted hospitality chiefs to warn of a ‘death sentence’ for hundreds of Scottish venues.
Ms Sturgeon made clear she believed the extension of the measures was necessary after Scotland recorded a further 28 Covid-19 deaths and an additional 1,739 cases – the highest number of fatalities since May 21.
Nicola Sturgeon today extended the closure of pubs and restaurants in Scotland’s central belt by another week
The hospitality rules banned the sale of alcohol inside pubs and restaurants nationwide and imposed a 6pm curfew on all indoor hospitality premises.
The total closure of hospitality venues applies to five hotspot areas in the central belt – an area which includes Edinburgh and Glasgow and is home to approximately 70 per cent of Scotland’s population.
Ms Sturgeon said restrictions on hospitality north of the border will remain in place for a week longer than previously stated.
The SNP leader said this would allow for a ‘smooth’ transition to a new tiered restriction system which is due to come into effect from November 2 and the details of which will be published in Friday this week.
Restrictions put in place two weeks ago on hospitality businesses were due to end on October 26.
Ms Sturgeon said while there is ‘cautious optimism’ that the measures are working, Scottish ministers were told by advisers that it would not be safe to lift the measures from Monday as had been planned.
The First Minister said: ‘The extension allows us to transition more smoothly to the new levels system that we hope will be introduced on November 2.’
Ms Sturgeon said existing financial support measures for businesses will be extended to cover the additional week of the restrictions being place.
New funding arrangements under the tiered system will then be set out at the end of this week.
Ms Sturgeon said she recognised the extension of the rules is ‘harsh’ as she said: ‘I know all of this is really unwelcome and I know that these restrictions are harsh.
‘They are harsh financially for many individuals and businesses, and they are harsh emotionally for all of us.
‘I want to stress again that none of these decisions are being taken lightly – this is all about trying to save lives and minimise the health damage that we know this virus is capable of doing.’
But she added: ‘Even allowing for today’s figures, we think that we might be starting to see a reduction in the rate at which new cases are increasing.’
A restriction against gatherings in people’s homes will also continue until November 2.
Ms Sturgeon said the coronavirus death toll in Scotland now stands at 2,653.
The figure is lower than the 4,376 deaths given earlier by the National Records of Scotland as they do not include suspected and probable coronavirus infections.
Ms Sturgeon said 50,903 people have now tested positive in Scotland, up from 49,164 on Monday.
The daily test positivity rate is 9.7 per cent, down from 11.4 per cent on the previous day.
Of the new cases, 605 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 520 in Lanarkshire, 250 in Lothian, and 105 in Ayrshire and Arran.
There are 873 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus as of yesterday, up by 49 in 24 hours. Of these patients, 73 are in intensive care, a rise of three.
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