New coronavirus laws on travel ‘send clear signal to public’

Measures will prevent people in level three and four from going outside of their local authority for non-essential journeys.

New coronavirus laws on travel ‘send clear signal to public’ Getty Images

Scotland’s deputy first minister said it is “very, very unlikely” people will be stopped by police under new coronavirus travel restrictions but the new measures will send a “clear signal” to the public.

The new legally enforceable measures will prevent people in level three and four of Scotland’s five-tier system from going outside of their local authority area for non-essential journeys from Friday.

John Swinney said those caught breaching the travel restrictions could be given a fixed penalty notice.

He stressed people travelling between council areas for essential journeys – such as a hospital appointment – will not have to show paperwork to support this if they are stopped.

Swinney told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “If an individual happened to be stopped by the police, which I think is a very, very unlikely circumstance, on their way to a hospital, if they were to explain to a police officer they were going to hospital for a critical appointment that would be an end of the matter.

“They don’t have to have paperwork to substantiate that.”

He added he does “not envisage those circumstances happening”.

Instead, Swinney said the guidance on travel is being put into law so “we give a very clear signal to members of the public of the importance that is attached to not leaving level three or level four areas in which people live”.

He added: “That signal is basically to say to people that the law requires individuals not to do that unless there are good reasons and particular exemptions for that to be the case.

“And that again comes back to the core point that we have got to minimise human interaction.”

His comments come after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Tuesday that 11 council areas are to be placed under level four restrictions from Friday – forcing hospitality, non-essential retail, gyms, hairdressers and other businesses to close.

This will be applied in the Glasgow City Council area, as well as Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian.

Residents in the City of Edinburgh Council area along with Angus, Clackmannanshire, Falkirk, Inverclyde, North Ayrshire, Dundee, Fife and Perth and Kinross will also be subject to the travel restrictions in level three.