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Nicola Sturgeon bans all outdoor drinking in mainland Scotland and tightens rules on click-and-collect services

Nicola Sturgeon has announced it will be illegal to consume alcohol outside in mainland Scotland while click-and-collect services will be scaled back, as she set out a tightening of the coronavirus lockdown in Scotland.

In an update to the Scottish parliament, the first minister insisted the situation “remains very precarious and extremely serious”, adding that 1,794 people were now in hospital with Covid.

While she said there may be some evidence the lockdown is having an effect, Ms Sturgeon said further steps were needed to “slow” the virus and reduce case numbers.

She revealed the cabinet had agreed six changes to the regulations, including limiting the availability and operation of click-and-collect services. Only retailers selling essentials, such as clothing, baby equipment and books, will be able to offer collection services.

The first minister said people will also be barred from entering hospitality businesses for takeaway services, meaning all sales of food and drinks must take place from outside the premises.

On the consumption of alcohol, she added it will be illegal to consume alcohol outside in all level 4 areas, including take-away pints, from Saturday.

The Scottish government will also strengthen the laws requiring employers to allow staff to work from home, as she urged workers to remain at home “wherever possible”.

Guidance previously issued to only allow essential work in people’s houses will now be placed into law, Ms Sturgeon said.

“We have already issued guidance to the effect that in level 4 areas work is only permitted within a private dwelling if it is essential for the upkeep, maintenance and functioning of the household. We will now put this guidance into law.”

Urging Scots to follow the restrictions, she said: “Don’t think in terms of the maximum interactions you can have without breaking the rules. Think instead about how you minimise your interactions to the bare essentials to remove as many opportunities as possible for the virus to spread.

“In everything you do, assume that the virus is there with you – that either you have it or any person you are in contact with has it – and act in a way that prevents it passing between you.

“All of this means staying at home except for genuinely essential purposes – including working from home whenever possible.”

Her remarks came after Boris Johnson warned earlier this week that stricter measures could be introduced in England if the people do not follow the “stay at home” orders, as he stressed “now is the time for maximum vigilance” amid intensifying pressure on the NHS.

Speaking ahead of Ms Sturgeon’s statement, the Scottish transport secretary Michael Matheson said there was “no doubt” people’s movements had increased compared to the initial lockdown at the onset of the pandemic.

He added there was an “element of concern” about the number of journeys people were making and told businesses it was “absolutely critical” that if they had staff working at home in March last year it “should be happening now”.

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