COVID-19 UPDATE SCOTLAND
14th December 2021 - The First Minister delivered a statement to Parliament today and set out further protective measures considered necessary to help slow the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
The First Minister delivered a statement to Parliament today and set out further protective measures considered necessary to help slow the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
She stressed that people are not being asked to cancel or change plans for Christmas Day gatherings. However, they are being asked to minimise social mixing with other households as much as possible before and immediately after Christmas Day. Guidance has been updated on reducing social interaction at home or in indoor public places to a maximum of three households, with everyone encouraged to take a lateral flow test before meeting.
Businesses are being asked to step up the protections in place in their premises and regulations are being amended to put a legal requirement on those running businesses or providing services to take reasonably practicable measures to minimise the risk of transmission. Further guidance on additional measures will be published by the end of the week. These include:
- Businesses, service providers and places of worship being asked to take all reasonable measures to avoid crowding, encourage wearing of masks and support distancing in their premises
- Guidance to ensure that people who can work from home, do so - for those in sectors where working from home is not possible, regular testing with lateral flow tests should be undertaken
- Reinforcement of protective measures in retail and other settings including distancing, managing customer flows, and protective screens.
- Reinforcement of protective measures in hospitality settings including collection of contact tracing information and measures to reduce crowding
- Guidance to increase mask wearing in outdoor crowded areas such as Christmas markets or festive celebrations
A £100 million financial package for eligible businesses is to be made available to support those in hospitality, food supply and in the culture sector that have lost bookings during this key trading period. The Finance Secretary will be engaging with affected sectors immediately to consult on and confirm the details of support and money will be available as soon as possible.
The offer of workplace testing has been extended. Public, private and third sector organisations with 10 or more staff can continue accessing free Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests to identify cases, reduce transmission and prevent outbreaks.
People who can’t work from home – including sectors such as manufacturing, logistics, hospitality and retail – should be testing regularly before going to work and businesses are strongly encouraged to sign up to workplace testing.
Businesses that sign up can access and distribute LFD kits twice a week free of charge, or implement their own asymptomatic test site model. Organisations with less than 10 employees can direct their workforce to collect LFD test kits from a local pharmacy or COVID-19 test site, or order online for home delivery.