Scotland Tightens Lockdown Rules on Click and Collect

Scotland Tightens Lockdown Rules on Click and Collect
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon arrives to update MSPs on any changes to the COVID-19 five-level system in Scotland at the parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh, Scotland, on Dec. 15, 2020. (Andrew Milligan - Pool/Getty Images)
Simon Veazey

Scotland’s devolved government has tightened lockdown rules, hoping to restrain the spread of the new variant of the CCP virus that now dominates in neighbouring England.

The new measures ban click and collect services for “non-essential” shopping, and ban people from entering takeaway food premises.

The new rules come into force from Saturday.

Only those shops selling clothing, footwear, baby equipment, homewares, and books will be allowed to offer click and collect, which must be pre-booked with a specific time-slot.

“Working from home should now be the default position for all businesses and services, and only those who cannot do their job from home should be asked to go to the workplace,” the Scottish government said in a statement.

Representatives of local businesses warned restrictions on click and collect could cut the remaining lifeline to some small retailers.

Despite having much lower levels of infection, Scotland brought in a national lockdown at the start of the month as the virus surged in England, hoping to stem the spread of a new variant, which scientific advisers say transmits 40 to 70 percent faster.

“The situation we face in relation to the virus remains extremely serious,” First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said in a statement to Parliament on Wednesday.

“We must continue to do everything possible to reduce case numbers—this is essential to relieve the pressure on our NHS and to save lives.”

CBI Scotland said that click and collect was a lifeline for many small firms.

Tracy Black, CBI Scotland Director, said in a statement, “Of course, firms can choose to suspend click and collect if that makes sense for them, but for many others it could mean the difference between business survival or not.”

She said that the government needed to set out compelling evidence that click and collect was a source of transmission.

Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have used devolved powers to enact different lockdown measures to England, where policy is set by the central UK government and Parliament.

Sturgeon has frequently introduced measures to try to control the pandemic just ahead of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcements on measures in England.

In England, stores that are closed to public entry due to the lockdown can currently provide a click and collect service.

John Lewis, one of the two largest department stores in the country, said it was suspending the service from Wednesday, after a “clear change in tone and emphasis of the views and information shared by the UK’s governments in recent days.”
The mayor of London on Wednesday implored the prime minister to tighten lockdown restrictions, with death cases and hospitalisations now surging in the capital following a rise in infection rates, which began falling about a week ago.
Simon Veazey is a UK-based journalist who has reported for The Epoch Times since 2006 on various beats, from in-depth coverage of British and European politics to web-based writing on breaking news.