Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 8th December 2020.

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The First Minister:

Annabelle Ewing raises a very important question and I will give our current planning assumption but, before I do that, I will again say that I am very reluctant to give 100 per cent certainty around anything like this, because the virus is not going to take Christmas off. It is possible that we will see developments in parts of the country that necessitate action over the Christmas period; I cannot rule that out and it is important to be frank about that.

However, subject to that caveat, in relation to the levels that we announce as part of the decisions that we take a week today on 15 December, we would seek to maintain those levels over the Christmas and new year period, along with the temporary relaxation that we announced a couple of weeks ago for the Christmas period from 23 to 27 December. What we announce next week, barring any of the unforeseen developments that I spoke about earlier, will continue until the first Cabinet meeting of 2021, on 5 January, when we will have another review. I hope that we will have that period of stability from 15 December through to 5 January but, of course, we have to be prepared to act should the picture show that that is necessary.