New Covid-fighting rules come into force across Scotland

Measures are being put in place to help tackle transmission of the Omicron variant.

New Covid-fighting rules come into force across Scotland iStock

New coronavirus guidance for workplaces and businesses is being introduced across Scotland from Friday.

The measures are being brought in in response to growing concerns over the rise in the Omicron variant.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has meanwhile urged people to reduce their contact with other households.

Under the guidance, businesses will be legally required to take reasonable measures to minimise transmission of coronavirus.

It sets out the requirement for masks to be worn in all businesses, and that retail and hospitality businesses should consider “reasonable measures” to reduce crowding and manage queues.

Retailers are being encouraged to use tannoy systems, signage, floor marking and queue management to help customers to maintain a safe distance.

Screens will also be used, if not already in place, to create a physical barrier at tills and self-checkout.

Capacity limits will also be in place to manage the flow of customers entering and exiting stores.

In hospitality, table service is being encouraged, whilst collection of contact details remains in place.

Vaccine passports or a negative lateral flow test also apply in certain settings.

The new guidance states that employees and employers should strengthen compliance with current protection measures and to make extra effort to do so from now through the festive period and beyond.

Employers have been told they should enable staff who worked at home at the start of the pandemic to be able to do so again.

Employees have also been urged to defer Christmas party’s this year to help reduce Covid cases.

Economy secretary Kate Forbes explained the extra layers of protection will help limit the spread of Omicron.

“The Omicron variant is spreading at a rapid pace and we have had to work extremely quickly to get revised guidance in place for businesses, to take effect from 0001 Friday, December 17,” she said.

“It is crucial that everyone follows this guidance to support businesses to keep their premises safe and prevent transmission of Omicron, especially as we ramp up booster vaccinations.

“Please get your booster, test regularly, follow the guidance, wear a mask and distance from people when you’re out and about.

“All of these layers of protection will help to limit the spread of Omicron, especially as we approach the festive period.”

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