Covid: Toughest restrictions to be imposed on west of Scotland as 11 council areas move into level 4

Video report by ITV News Scotland Correspondent Peter Smith

A large swathe of west of Scotland will be placed under the toughest coronavirus restrictions from 6pm on Friday for a "strictly limited period", First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

Non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants, bars, hairdressers and visitor attractions will have to close their doors in 11 local authorities from November 20 as they move from level 3 to 4 restrictions for three weeks and will be lifted on December 11.

But schools will remain open and two households are still allowed to meet outdoors up to a maximum of six people and there is no limit on outdoor exercise. 

Takeaways can still operate.

Ms Sturgeon said introducing the "short, sharp" measures now gave the "best possible chance to ease restrictions in all parts of Christmas".

ITV News Scotland correspondent Peter Smith the impact of the new restrictions

Scotland was the first UK nation to re-introduce stricter measures when Covid cases began to rise again in early autumn and was the last to come out of full lockdown in July.

This decisive action is credited for Scotland being the only one of the four nations not to have introduced a full lockdown.

But coronavirus cases in certain parts of Scotland have plateaued at "stubbornly high levels" and Ms Sturgeon wants to bring those numbers down dramatically in time for Christmas.

Travel restrictions placed into law from Friday, meaning that movement into and away from Level 3 and Level 4 areas will be against the law.

East Lothian and Midlothian will move down to Level 2 in the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 measures.

She said that the two areas have seen a “marked decline” in the prevalence of the virus.

She added: “On that basis, assuming no significant deterioration before then, I can confirm that East Lothian and Midlothian will move from Level 3 to Level 2 from next Tuesday 24 November.

“Between now and then, the local authorities will be able to undertake necessary environmental health and compliance checks, and work with NHS Lothian to minimise any risk of increased transmission that the move to Level 2 will bring.” 

Nicola Sturgeon said the moves have been made specifically to have an impact ahead of Christmas Credit: Russell Cheyne/PA

What areas are moving to Level 4 restrictions from Friday?

  • City of Glasgow

  • Renfrewshire

  • East Renfrewshire

  • East Dunbartonshire

  • West Dunbartonshire

  • North Lanarkshire

  • South Lanarkshire

  • East Ayrshire

  • South Ayrshire

  • Stirling

  • West Lothian

Nicola Sturgeon gave the latest update on Covid-19 Credit: Andy Buchanan/PA

The First Minister told MSPs: “I know people are frustrated that other restrictions have remained in place longer than planned.

“But Level 4 is intended to be short and sharp. And in this situation, it is specifically intended to have an impact in advance of Christmas and the most challenging winter period.

“Lifting the Level 4 restrictions then – as we will do – also means that they will not be in place for most of the Hanukkah period – so again, while celebrations may be different, there will be a greater degree of freedom.

“We will assess nearer the time the level that will apply in each area when the Level 4 restrictions end on December 11.”

The First Minister added that she hoped the affected areas would be able to move to Level 2 “much more quickly than would otherwise be the case”.