First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told Scottish Parliament new laws will be brought in to make it a legal requirement on firms, forcing them to work from home if they can.
The six new rules, which are subject to approval by the Scottish parliament, are:
- Customers are now unable to collect takeaways indoors but must be collected from a doorway or hatch.
- Consumption of takeaway pints are banned in an outdoors public place in any level four area
- Click and collect services have been limited to essential shopping such as baby equipment, clothing and books
- People can only leave home for essential reasons and cannot stay out for other purposes afterwards
- Working being undertaken inside and on homes is will be limited to the essential upkeep, maintenance or functioning of the home
- The guidance for those working from home is the same as in the first lockdown as anyone who worked from home then should do so now
Sturgeon said: “The situation we face in relation to the virus remains precarious and extremely serious therefore in order to maximise our chances of effectively supressing the virus, I will set out today, some further tightening of the lockdown restrictions.
“There are six changes we intend to make and the regulations giving effect to these will, subject to parliament’s approval, take effect on Saturday.
“I am aware some of the changes will sound technical and relatively minor however we believe both individually and collectively, these additional measures in further reducing the interactions that allow the virus to spread, will help our essential efforts to suppress it.
“However technical the changes might sound, I know that all of them involve further restrictions of our essential liberties so I want to give an assurance again that none of these decisions are arrived at lightly.
“Firstly we intend to limit the availability and operation of click and collect retail serivces. Only retailers selling essential items will be allowed to offer click and collect. This will include for example, clothes, footwear, baby equipment, homeware and books.
“All other click and collect services must stop. More importantly for click and collect services that are allowed, staggered appointments will need to be offered to avoid any potential for queuing and access inside premises for collection will not be permitted.
“The details will be set down in regulations and guidance. I know businesses affected by this change will be disappointed and many have gone to great lengths to make services as safe as possible but we must reduce, as far as is possible, the reasons people have right now, for leaving home and coming into contact with others.”
Alcohol consumption rule change
Sturgeon added that she welcomed the actions of those businesses that have voluntarily suspended click and collect and tightened their procedures in for example, relation to face coverings.
“Secondly, we intend to apply restrictions to takeaway services," she said. "Customers will no longer be permitted to go inside to collect takeaway food or coffee. Any outlet wishing to offer takeaway will have to do so from a serving hatch or doorway.
“This is to reduce to the risk of customers coming into contact indoors with each other or with staff.
“Thirdly, we intend to change the rules around consumption of alcohol. At the moment, different parts of Scotland have different laws in relation to the consumption of alcohol in outdoor public places however from Saturday (16 January), it will be against the law in all level four areas – to drink alcohol outdoors in public.
“It will mean for example, that buying a takeaway pint and drinking it outdoors will not be permitted. I know this is not a popular move but it is intended to underline the fact we should only be leaving home for essential purposes.
“That includes exercise or recreation but it does not include simple socialising. When you do leave home, you should only meet one person from another household in a group no bigger than two people.”
The First Minister went onto outline the new rules around working from home the onus being put on employers to allow this.
“Fourthly and significantly, we intend to strengthen the obligation on employers to allow their staff to work from home whenever possible," she said.
“The law already says we should only be leaving home to go to work if it is work than cannot be done from home. This is a legal obligation that falls on individuals however, we will now introduce statutory guidance to make clear to employers they must support their workers to work from home wherever possible."
Stay at home
Sturgeon added: “For all employers the basic but vital message is this. if your staff we were working from home during the first lockdown last year, they should be working from home now and you should be facilitating that.
“Fifthly, we will strengthen the provisions in relation to working inside people’s houses. We hae already issued guidance to the effect that in level four areas, work is only permitted in a private dwelling if it is essential for the upkeep, maintenance and functioning of the household and we will now put this guidance into law.
“The final change is an amendment to the regulations requiring people to stay at home but I want to be clear. This is intended to close an apparent loophole rather than change the spirit of the law.
“It will also bring the wording of the stay at home regulations in Scotland, into line with the other UK nations.
“Right now the law states people can only leave home for an essential purpose however, having left home for an essential purpose, someone could then stay out of their home to do something that is not essential without breaching the law as it stands.
“So the amendment will make it clear people must not leave or remain outside the home, unless for an essential purpose.
“This change will provide legal clarity to facilitate any necessary enforcement. I want to be clear, it doesn’t change the range of essential purposes that currently enable people to leave their house nor does it, for example, put any time limit on how long you can be outdoors for essential exercise.
“But it does mean if the police challenge you for being out of the house, doing something that is not essential, it will not be a defence to say you initially left to do something that was.”