Millions of Scots will be under tighter lockdown restrictions for the next three weeks.
Nicola Sturgeon announced today that 11 local authority areas would move to level four of the Scottish Government’s tier system from Friday.
The areas include the City of Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian.
Level 4 sees hospitality venues, non-essential retail and close contact services such as hairdressers and beauticians close.
Announcing the change, the First Minister said: “In all of these areas, there are grounds for continued and significant concern.”
She said the Level 4 restrictions will be in place for three weeks and will be lifted on December 11.
East Lothian and Midlothian will move in the opposite direction, down from Level 3 to Level 2.
Ms Sturgeon said that the two areas have seen a “marked decline” in the prevalence of the virus.
She added: “On that basis, assuming no significant deterioration before then, I can confirm that East Lothian and Midlothian will move from Level 3 to Level 2 from next Tuesday 24 November.
“Between now and then, the local authorities will be able to undertake necessary environmental health and compliance checks, and work with NHS Lothian to minimise any risk of increased transmission that the move to Level 2 will bring.”
All other council areas will remain in the level that they were previous to today.
Placing council areas in Scotland into the toughest restrictions is intended to be “short and sharp”, Ms Sturgeon said, adding that the changes are intended to have an impact ahead of Christmas.
The First Minister told MSPs: “I know people are frustrated that other restrictions have remained in place longer than planned.
“But Level 4 is intended to be short and sharp. And in this situation, it is specifically intended to have an impact in advance of Christmas and the most challenging winter period.
“Lifting the Level 4 restrictions then – as we will do – also means that they will not be in place for most of the Hanukkah period – so again, while celebrations may be different, there will be a greater degree of freedom.
“We will assess nearer the time the level that will apply in each area when the Level 4 restrictions end on December 11.”
The First Minister added that she hoped the affected areas would be able to move to Level 2 “much more quickly than would otherwise be the case”.
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