Scotland’s new five-level system revealed – here’s how it works

Nicola Sturgeon has revealed the Scottish alternative to Boris Johnson’s tiered system of coronavirus restrictions.

While England has three levels of measures, Scotland’s first minister has gone for five.

She said individual regions could be placed under different ones, so “we don’t have to take a one-size-fits-all approach if that is not warranted”.

Image: Nicola Sturgeon said only restrictions ‘absolutely necessary’ would be imposed

They will come into force on 2 November, if Ms Sturgeon’s plans are approved by the Scottish parliament next week.

Here are the details:

Level 0

This would be “the closest to normality we can safely get to without more effective treatments for COVID or a vaccine against COVID”, the first minister said.

Eight people from three households can meet indoors and most businesses can open with safety measures in place.

It is most comparable to Scotland’s situation in August when the virus was “very suppressed but still a threat”.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon clashes with Conservative leader Ruth Davidson
Image: MSPs must approve the plans first

Level 1

Indoor household meetings are restricted to six people from two households.

This would see a “reasonable degree of normality” remain and be similar to the situation in mid-September when “cases started to rise again but prevalence was still fairly low”.

Level 2

This applies when transmission of the virus is higher and rising and would see limitations on hospitality businesses and no gatherings allowed in people’s homes.

It is similar to current restrictions outside the Scottish central belt.

Restrictions started in parts of Scotland on Friday
Image: Hospitality firms would be affected in areas in Level 2 and above

Level 3

This would see much of hospitality closed, and similar to the measures in place in the Scottish central belt.

But Ms Sturgeon said a crucial difference would be that restaurants can partially open.

Level 4

Non-essential shops must close and it is a sign the NHS is at risk of being overwhelmed.

Six people from two households can meet outdoors and the government will seek to keep manufacturing and construction firms open.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 26: An employee directs members of the public drive into a coronavirus testing centre at Glasgow Airport on August 26, 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland Covid – 19 testing capacity is to be increased in Scotland following a spike in demand, the First Minister announced that new mobile testing units would be deployed later this week. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Image: Level 4 is only for regions where the NHS may be overwhelmed

Ms Sturgeon confirmed “we do not envisage returning to a situation as severe as the first lockdown”.

She said if MSPs approve the plan, the Scottish government will then make decisions about which parts of the country go into which level.

“None of us want to be imposing restrictions to businesses or individuals that are not absolutely necessary,” the SNP leader added in her daily news conference.

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