Nicola Sturgeon will today announce a five-tier plan of measures for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic in Scotland.
The new set of restrictions has been anticipated since a similar three-tiered system was introduced in England by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
If approved at Holyrood next week, the new measures will come into force in Scotland on Monday, November 2.
The first minister will discuss the tiered system at her lunchtime coronavirus briefing, as well as plans to increase testing capacity north of the border.
Ms Sturgeon has already said the three middle tiers will be broadly similar to the English system, where areas are classed as either “medium”, “high” or “very high” risk.
There will also be a lower level in Scotland for areas with fewer Covid-19 cases – which national clinical director Professor Jason Leitch suggested would have “slightly more freedoms than other parts of the country”.
And he said areas in the highest tier would be under a “fuller” lockdown, but added schools would remain “as open as possible”.
Earlier this month, temporary restrictions were brought in across Scotland and, although initially set to end on October 25, these were extended until the new tiered system comes into effect.
Since October 9, bars and licensed restaurants in five health board areas – Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley – have been forced to close for all but takeaways.
Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes elsewhere in Scotland are only allowed to serve indoor customers between 6am and 6pm with a ban on alcohol inside, although alcoholic drinks can be served until 10pm in outdoor areas.
In a radio interview yesterday, Prof Leitch said he is hopeful that by sticking to tough restrictions, Scotland could enjoy “some form of normality” over the festive break.
But he also urged the public to prepare for a “digital Christmas” while warning of the unlikelihood of “large family groupings with multiple families” this year.
In her briefing, Ms Sturgeon assured any young children watching that Santa was a “key worker” and she hoped despite the situation, the festive period would still be a special time.
Guidance is also expected to be issued over the weekend about guising at Halloween.
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