Nicola Sturgeon warns Scottish firms not to seek lockdown 'loopholes'

Nicola Sturgeon warns Scottish businesses not to seek ‘loopholes’ in lockdown rules that would allow them to remain open and keep staff at their desks in defiance of stay-at-home laws

Nicola Sturgeon today demanded businesses not try to find ‘loopholes’ in Scottish lockdown laws that would allow them to stay open and keep staff at their desks.

The First Minister used her daily address to outline the nation’s new lockdown, which came into force today.

The new laws include ordering people to work from home, with the only exception being for people who cannot do their job from home.

Ms Sturgeon said that businesses and employers had a ‘big part to play’ in helping tackle the latest Covid surge. Scotland has recorded 11 deaths of coronavirus patients and 2,529 new cases in the past 24 hours.

‘I want to be clear that we really need businesses in this next phase, as they have been throughout, to be responsible, to help us fight this virus, Ms Sturgeon said.

‘That means – just as this is true for individuals with the stay at home message – it means not always looking for the loophole that allows you to stay open or have your staff physically at work.

The First Minister used her daily address to outline the nation’s new lockdown, which came into force today

‘Instead it means thinking about how you as a business can maximise your contribution to the collective challenge that we all now face.

‘In return the government must do – and we will continue to do – all we can to maximise the financial support available to you.’   

Nicola Sturgeon spoke as mainland Scotland entered a second national lockdown.

Exercise and essential journeys will be the only reasons why people will be allowed to leave their homes. 

The planned reopening of schools on January 18 is also being pushed back to February 1 at the earliest while workers are being instructed to work from home wherever possible. 

Rules on outdoor gatherings will be tightened to allow a maximum of just two people from two households to meet.

‘The current situation we face now in the pandemic is in my view more serious than it has been at any time since the spring,’ the First Minister said this afteroon.

‘That is because this new, more transmissible variant of Covid is becoming increasingly common, and as a result of that cases are rising much more steeply and rapidly than they had been in the latter part of last year.’

With two vaccines now approved for use in the fight against the virus, the Scottish Government will do everything it can to ensure people get these ‘as quickly as possible’ Ms Sturgeon added.

But she added ‘because this new variant is spreading so much more quickly’ it was important also to act to try to slow down the spread of coronavirus.  

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