Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 4th January 2021.

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The First Minister:

That is an important issue, but it is not easy to get the balance right. We want to restrict travel as much as possible, but we have to be careful that, if we restrict travel by distance too much, particularly in urban areas, people who go out for outdoor exercise might end up congregating in very confined spaces. We are trying to get the balance as right as possible.

The stay at home regulations will come into force from midnight. As is the case with the travel regulations, there are exceptions that allow people to go out for essential shopping, for exercise and for other essential purposes, such as caring for a vulnerable relative.

However, I cannot stress enough that, particularly when it comes to exercise and shopping, people should stay as close to home as possible. Although it is important for everyone’s wellbeing that they take exercise outdoors, people should travel only locally to get to a safe non-crowded place to exercise in a socially distanced way. Just as was the case in March, this is a time for people to stay at home, because that is how we save lives and protect the NHS.