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New strategic approach to managing COVID-19

Mon 26 Oct 20

A five-level framework which will allow for a refreshed strategic approach to suppressing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks across Scotland has been published.

Scotland's Strategic Framework indicates different levels of protection that might be needed based on different levels of transmission for the virus. It will allow for rapid but proportionate responses on both a local and national basis using a transparent range of measures and options.

The framework has five protection levels. ‘Level 0’ is effectively the same level of protection as the Route Map Phase 3 measures Scotland reached in August and will act as a baseline, with four levels above that designed to apply increasing protection from the virus in areas according to prevalence, the risk to communities and the need to protect the NHS. Levels will be reviewed on a regular basis.

  • Level zero – Closest to normality which the government can get to without a vaccine or effective treatment. Maximum of eight people from three households permitted to meet indoors and most business open.
  • Level one – A maximum of six people from two households permitted to meet indoors, with most businesses permitted to operate close to normality.
  • Level two – Restrictions similar to those outside the Central Belt in place, with no gatherings between households permitted indoors and limitations on hospitality.
  • Level three - Similar to current central belt measures, with strict restrictions on hospitality business and indoor gatherings. However, restaurants will be permitted to open at least partially.
  • Level four – Closer to a full lockdown, with the closure of non-essential shops. This will be used at times when the virus is running out of control and the NHS is at risk of being overwhelmed. However, six people from two households will still be permitted to meet outdoors, manufacturing and construction will be able to continue, and there will be no limit on outdoor exercise.

In the coming days the Scottish Government will engage with local government, stakeholders, economic groups and other partners, prior to a final version of the strategic framework being debated in parliament next Tuesday (27 October).

Further details on which local authority areas of Scotland will fall under which levels will be announced following discussions with directors of public health and local authorities, taking on board recommendations from the national incident management team, before coming into force on 2 November. 

It has become increasingly clear that we need to update our approach to tackling Coronavirus to adapt to this latest phase of the pandemic. The draft strategic framework we are publishing sets out how we intend to do that. It tries to balance different types of harms. But it is worth stressing that if we allow the virus to run out of control then that will exacerbate every other harm.

In the coming days, we will listen to views from stakeholders on any suggested changes they might have, or how they would like to see it implemented. Although the framework we have published is new, the principles behind it will be familiar.

I know that when people hear the daily figures it’s easy to feel as though the hard sacrifices we are all living with are not making a difference. But by taking these difficult steps we will help suppress the virus, and that is why I am asking everyone to stick with it.

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon


Grants for businesses

Ongoing financial support is set out in the framework and will be available to businesses which are required to close or which can remain open but will be directly affected by restrictions. The Scottish Government will work with local authorities to ensure grants are made available quickly and efficiently.

From 2 November, firms that are required by law to close will be eligible for grants every four weeks for as long as the restrictions last. Based on rateable values, awards will be for either £2,000 or £3,000. 

Businesses which can remain open, but are directly constrained by the measures, will be eligible for grants worth £1,400 or £2,100, again based on rateable value.

This support is in addition to the UK Government’s revised furlough scheme launching on 1 November.

Further information

This new strategic framework will come into force from 2 November, when temporary restrictions on the hospitality trade are to expire.

You can now find the COVID-19: Scotland's Strategic Framework document on the Scottish Government website.

Current guidance for tourism and hospitality businesses.

Current guidance for the events sector.


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