More than 2 million Scots will face near-lockdown restrictions after Nicola Sturgeon imposed the country’s highest level of Covid restrictions across the west of Scotland.
Following a cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning, Scotland’s first minister told MSPs that 11 local authority areas would enter level 4 – the highest of Scotland’s five-tier system of virus controls – from 6pm this Friday for a limited period.
The local authorities are West Dunbartonshire, East Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow City, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire and Stirling.
Level 4 restrictions most closely resemble the lockdown imposed in March, although two households are still allowed to meet outdoors up to a maximum of six people and there is no limit on outdoor exercise.
All non-essential shops will close, along with pubs, restaurants and cafes – although takeaways can still operate, as well as gyms and leisure centres, hairdressers, barbers, beauticians and indoor visitor attractions.
Schools and nurseries will remain open.
Those living under level 4 restrictions are advised to avoid unnecessary travel out of their local council area, and to keep all journeys to an absolute minimum.
On Monday, Sturgeon said that increasing restrictions in areas where prevalence of the virus remains “stubbornly high” would allow for more flexibility in the easing of rules over Christmas.