A new tiered system of lockdown restrictions will come into force in Scotland on Monday, November 2 if approved at Holyrood next week, the First Minister has said.
Nicola Sturgeon said some areas may face stricter measures than those currently in force in the central belt, where licensed hospitality venues have been temporarily closed.
She told the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh on Tuesday that she will update the country about the temporary restrictions on hospitality businesses on Wednesday.
The Cabinet will decide if these restrictions, brought in on October 9 to stem a rise in cases and due to end on October 26, will be extended until the implementation of the tiered framework.
The First Minister set out the timeline for the decisions as she announced 15 coronavirus deaths and 1456 positive cases were recorded in Scotland in the past 24 hours.
She told the briefing the new measures in the tiered framework, if approved by MSPs, will come into effect on November 2 – aligning with the UK Government’s new furlough scheme.
Ms Sturgeon said: “What that means is over the course of next week we will be assessing the up to date data and assessing whether all of the country would go into a certain level of the new framework or whether parts of the country would go into one level and other parts of the country into another.
“As part of that we will be considering, of course, whether there are parts of the country that need tougher restrictions than those in place in the central belt right now, or whether there are parts of the country that might be able to have less tough restrictions.
“We need to assess that on the basis of the up to date data.”
The First Minister said she hopes a “reasonable degree of cross-party consensus” will be reached before the framework is debated.
She added: “In publishing the outline framework later this week, I would also intend to then have a few days where there are comments made on that and we might tweak it ahead of the parliamentary debate to take account of any obvious points that people wanted to be rectified.”
Ms Sturgeon said flexibility will also be important in the framework, adding: “It’s important we get it as right as possible.
“It’s equally important, given what we’re dealing with, that we don’t become an absolute prisoner of any framework because we need to retain a degree of flexibility.”
Under the temporary restrictions, bars and licensed restaurants in five health board areas – Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley – have been forced to close for all but takeaway services.
Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes elsewhere in Scotland are only allowed to serve indoor customers between 6am and 6pm with a ban on alcohol inside, although alcoholic drinks can be served until 10pm in outdoor areas.
The First Minister urged eligible businesses to apply for a new fund to support those impacted by the measures.
She said: “I would encourage all eligible businesses to apply.
“By sticking to the new restrictions and either closing your business if you’re in the central belt or operating it under restrictions if you’re in the rest of the country, you’re helping us to tackle Covid and helping us to stop it spreading so fast, and it’s really important that we help you to do that.”
Giving an update on the daily figures, she said the death toll of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days has risen to 2,625.
A total of 49,164 people have now tested positive in Scotland, up from 47,708 on Monday.
The daily test positivity rate is 11.4%, up from 6.4% on the previous day.
Of the new cases, 500 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 393 in Lanarkshire, 198 in Lothian, and 116 in Ayrshire and Arran.
There are 824 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, up by 70 in 24 hours.
Of these patients, 69 are in intensive care, a rise of eight.