Scotland Tightens Covid Restrictions and Wants to Go Further
(Bloomberg) -- The Scottish government is tightening Covid-19 restrictions as the omicron variant takes over as the dominant strain across the U.K.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said new guidelines will urge no more than three households to mix during the Christmas period. There will be a legal requirement for businesses to take more steps to stop transmission, for example screens and social distancing in retail outlets. It will also be a legal duty for employers to allow staff to work from home where possible.
Sturgeon, whose pro-independence Scottish National Party runs the administration in Edinburgh, blamed the U.K. government for not covering the financial cost of more restrictions. Scotland was unable to all the take measures it deemed necessary because it didn’t have the financial means to cover the cost, she said.
“There are further steps we could and would have considered today - particularly around hospitality - had we the financial ability to do so,” Sturgeon said. “But we don’t.”
The Treasury in London said it would release more money to the semi-autonomous governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in coming days to back the rollout of booster vaccinations and the “wider health response.” It didn’t give details.
Scotland is responsible for its own health policies and it has often foreshadowed wider moves across the U.K. during the pandemic. The government reiterated it expects omicron to overtake delta within days. Sturgeon has warned of a “tsunami” of infections.
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