In a statement to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, the Prime Minister said the planned date to move the remaining parts of Scotland to level two, such as Edinburgh and Glasgow, to level one would be delayed, as well as the planned move to level zero. for the rest of mainland Scotland.
Ms Sturgeon confirmed that no changes in the levels applicable to parts of Scotland would take place over the coming week and that part of the country was “unlikely” to drop on June 28 as planned.
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However, the decision to postpone further easing of restrictions until the end of July was also criticized as’ unforgivable ‘by retail groups, with hospitality industry officials saying the ad continued a’ never-ending hell. “.
Nicola Sturgeon briefed the Scottish Parliament on Covid-19
Nicola Sturgeon announces covid LIVE: the Prime Minister could delay June 28 more easily …
The delay follows an announcement on Monday from Boris Johnson, who confirmed that England’s planned full reopening would not take place as planned on June 21.
The prime minister said the date for lifting the restrictions was to be delayed by four weeks until July 19 due to the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19, which has caused a spike in cases.
Ms Sturgeon said the significant portion of the population who had yet to receive two doses of the vaccine was the ‘greatest vulnerability’ for Scotland.
The Prime Minister takes stock of the Covid-19 restrictions the day after Boris Johnson announced a postponement of the reopening in England.
She said a further delay in easing restrictions would allow more people to get vaccinated before further easing Covid-19 measures.
The next review date will be next week, but Ms Sturgeon said it was “unlikely” for any further easing of restrictions.
The Prime Minister told Holyrood: “Given the current situation – and the need to have more people vaccinated before we relax further – it is reasonable to state now that I think it is unlikely that part of the country drops from a June 28 level.
“Instead, it’s likely we’ll choose to maintain the restrictions for an additional three weeks from June 28 and use that time to vaccinate – with both doses – as many people as possible.
“This will give us the best chance, later in July, to get back on track and restore the much greater normalcy we all aspire to.” “
She added: “The immunization program is going exceptionally well and is being rolled out as quickly as supplies allow. But there is still a significant proportion of the population that is not yet fully vaccinated.
“To be frank, this remains our greatest vulnerability at this point – and it is important.
“So we have to buy enough time for the vaccination to move forward, and that is the reason for caution at this point. “
Ms Sturgeon said that, on average, young people were more likely to be hospitalized since the start of the pandemic, saying people between the ages of 30 and 40 were now the most likely to be hospitalized with Covid-19.
She said it was possible statistics could show people are coming out “faster” and requiring a shorter hospital stay compared to the start of the pandemic.
The Prime Minister added that the Scottish government would publish an article examining what life would look like beyond level zero in the coming weeks, as well as an article on a review of physical distancing.
This final review will examine whether theaters, cinemas and other artistic venues may be able to operate more sustainably in the medium to long term.
However, the SNP leader’s announcement was called “unforgivable” by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
Andrew McRae, FSB Scotland’s political chairman, said state support must be “commensurate” with the level of restrictions.
He said: ‘Any delay in unlocking has consequences for Scottish businesses and jobs. Hotel and tourism businesses are facing new weeks of restrictions, making it difficult to cover their overheads, let alone pay down their debts.
“We have to remember that nightclubs, soft play centers and much of the event industry remain unable to trade at all.
“This is why the bare minimum expected by the FSB is that state support be proportionate to the extent of the restrictions.
“It would be unforgivable for the governments of Edinburgh and London to end support for businesses while prolonging their difficulties. “
The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) also criticized the announcement, saying the move would cost the industry “millions” and put the survival of many hotel companies at risk.
SLTA CEO Colin Wilkinson said: “The hospitality industry is at a breaking point with today’s announcement that the brakes are on for further easing of restrictions.
‘We understand the need for caution, but the Scottish Government must also understand that this delay will cost an already besieged industry millions of pounds and put the future survival of many pubs, bars, restaurants, hotels and night bars at risk. which are part of the social fabric of Scotland.
“For those who still can’t open due to their size or the entertainment they offer, such as late-opening venues and nightclubs, this is another devastating blow to an abandoned area crippled by restrictions and without roadmap to get out of the pandemic. ”
Stephen Montgomery, spokesman for the Scottish Hospitality Group, which has campaigned for a faster opening across Scotland and criticized the Euro 2020 fan zone, called the prosecution decision ‘hell endless ”for the industry.
He said: “It’s endless hell for hospitality workers and the companies that employ them, especially those in the music and nightlife industries.
“Now is the time to revisit the practical suggestions that we have repeatedly put forward at the request of the government, such as changing levels to make it easier for responsible companies to trade sustainably while protecting health. people.
“This is all the more important given that the entire sector is facing a recruitment crisis which is further hampering our recovery.
“The government has shown that it can be flexible and understanding when it wants, as we have seen with the Euro and the fan zone. All we ask is that hospitality be given the same consideration.
Reacting to the statement made to Holyrood’s chamber, Douglas Ross said most Scots would be “looked down upon” by the news that the restrictions would continue for weeks.
The Scottish Conservative leader said people were ‘very fed up with Covid’ but vaccination would be the best way out of the pandemic.
He also asked the Prime Minister when all adults would receive the two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, called for capacity limits to be lifted at weddings and whether the delay in restrictions would extend until September.
Ms Sturgeon refused to set a firm target for all Scottish adults to have two doses of the vaccine and criticized Mr Ross for ‘putting words in my mouth’.
She said, “I would ask the members and those watching to pay attention to what I said.
“At no point today did I say that I thought restrictions would be in place for a period of additional months, did I say that.
“I have always tried not to commit to firm dates in the future that no one can be sure can be delivered. “
Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar also called for a review of ‘inconsistent decision-making’, citing the Euro 2020 fan zone in Glasgow as an example when nursery graduation ceremonies failed to continue.
He said: “To maintain public trust, we need consistent communications, consistent decision-making, adequate support for businesses and employees, as well as a robust immunization program and hot spot protocols.
“I accept what the Prime Minister said about the delay, but there have been mixed messages which, in my opinion, do not help maintain public confidence. “
In response, Ms Sturgeon said she did not have the “magic bullet”, but would look at measures which were “apparent” contradictions.
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