Scotland may see some changes to Covid rules and regulations as we enter Christmas.
Nicola Sturgeon delivered an update on coronavirus on Tuesday, warning that stricter measures could be put in place to keep the virus at bay and avoid a complete lockdown.
The Scottish Government is now considering some restrictions to keep the country safe as we enter the winter, which could take effect on 6 December.
Here are the changes that could be made …
Change of vaccine passport
One of the biggest changes that can happen during this year’s holiday is the extension of the vaccine passport scheme.
At present, proof of vaccination is only required for persons over 18 years of age to:
- unseeded indoor events with more than 500 people
- unseeded outdoor events with more than 4,000 people
- events with more than 10,000 participants
The Scottish Government is currently considering extending this to include indoor cinemas, theaters and some other licensed and hospitality venues such as pubs and cafes.
The final decision to extend Scotland’s vaccine passport will be delivered next Tuesday, 23 November.
Any changes will take effect on December 6th.
Negative covid tests
People could show negative tests instead of proof of vaccination in the NHS Scotland vaccine passport app.
The Scottish Government is considering allowing this negative covid test to be used as an alternative to proof that you have been double-vaccinated.
The Prime Minister said this measure was “not appropriate” when the app was launched on October 1 and was withheld to increase the vaccination rate.
She said: “We are now able to change the scheme so that in addition to showing evidence of vaccination to gain access to a venue, there will also be an opportunity to present evidence of a recent test result.”
A decision on this is also expected next Tuesday, and any changes will take place from 6 December.
However, there are some exceptions to these rules for:
- those under 18, those who cannot be vaccinated or tested for medical reasons
- people in clinical trials
- for those who work at events or in venues covered by the scheme.
- weddings and funerals
Why could new rules be introduced?
Scotland is experiencing an increase in cases and an ‘extremely high’ number of covid patients in hospital, despite being the most vaccinated country in the UK.
Covid cases and hospital numbers will increase as expected as we enter the colder months.
Nicola Sturgeon said the figures reported in recent days and the situation experienced across Europe ‘illustrate the need for continued action’.
She wants to keep stores fully open during the Christmas period and over the winter and is looking at ways to make this possible – the extension of the covid certificate is one of them.
But FM said the government has a “duty” to keep proportionate options under review.
The SNP leader said she hoped “a lot” to get through the winter without reintroducing restrictions and lockdowns, as some other countries have done.
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