Covid-19 Lockdown: Next Steps

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 21st May 2020.

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The First Minister:

That is where having locally available information will be important. That point links back to the questions from Andy Wightman and Liam McArthur. Fundamentally, my main message right now is that we are still saying to people that they should not travel to rural parts of Scotland—to visit holiday homes or go to places that have fragile infrastructure and health services—because they risk taking the virus with them.

We hope that phase 1 will kick in a week from today and in that phase we envisage people being able to travel more for recreation and leisure. However, in that phase, travel should continue to be within people’s own locality, where possible. The document says, as a guide—it is not a prescriptive rule—that people should stay within 5 miles of the locality. That may mean something different in a rural area from what it would in an urban area—it is a guide.

The general principle of people staying within their community and locality is important because, over the next phase, we do not want to see tourist spots flooded with people out for day trips. I want to be very clear and specific about that. The virus is always looking for bridges to hop across and the more people there are together in crowded places, the more chance that it has of doing that. It is important that people stick to the advice that we are giving, even as that advice evolves through the different phases.