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Click and collect services to be restricted from Saturday

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Click and collect services to be restricted from Saturday

Click and collect will be limited to essential goods only in level four areas from Saturday, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

Items classed as essential retail will include clothes and shoes, homeware, gardening items and plants, baby equipment, books, electrical goods and repairs, and key cutting and shoe repairs, in addition to food and drink and pharmacy products.

Retailers still allowed to offer click and collect services must ensure customer appointments are staggered and customers should not have to go into the shop to collect items.

The new rule was one of six adjustments to coronavirus regulations in level four areas that take effect from the weekend.

From Saturday outlets offering takeaway food and drink will have to serve customers through a hatch or at the door, with no customers allowed on the premises.

Drinking alcohol outdoors in a public place will also be banned.

The First Minister said this backed up that people should be leaving the house for essential purposes only and not for “simple socialising”.

A loophole that currently means people could do something non-essential if they originally left the house for an essential purpose will be closed, with police able to challenge people on why they are out and about.

Statutory guidance for employers will be strengthened to make it clear that they must support staff to work from home and only those who cannot do their job from home may to be asked to go into work.

Current guidance that limits work done by tradesmen in private homes to essential repairs, replacements and safety checks will also be put into law.

In a statement to the Scottish Parliament, the First Minister said: “The situation we face in relation to the virus remains extremely serious.

“We must continue to do everything possible to reduce case numbers – this is essential to relieve the pressure on our NHS and to save lives.

“Both individually and collectively, these additional measures – in further reducing the interactions that allow the virus to spread – will help our essential efforts to suppress it.”

Responding to the latest announcements, David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “The situation with the pandemic is fast moving and we fully recognise government wants people to stay home.

“However, these further revenue-crushing restrictions and the fresh complexity they bring, together with constant chopping and changing to the COVID strategic framework, are disconcerting and come at an incredibly difficult time for retail.

“Firms operating click and collect or food-to-go takeaway have taken every reasonable step to make their operations as safe as possible, complying with every twist and turn to government guidance and often at pitifully short notice.

“They have demonstrated they can operate safely and have invested significantly to make their premises COVID-secure, and it appears no evidence to the contrary has accompanied this announcement.

“The businesses affected – who have already lost much of their income during the crisis – are trying to make the best fist possible of the current severely curtailed trading conditions, and that just got even harder as a result of this decision which will add to their cash flow woes.

“The blunt reality is that the taxpayer-funded grant support on offer won’t make up for lost sales and firms’ mounting bills and debt during this pandemic.

“Even when we eventually emerge from lockdown shops will be unable to trade at capacity due to physical distancing and caps on numbers in stores, while the threat of a return to full business rates liability in April still looms.

“Decisive action is urgently required to extend rates relief into 2021-22 and avoid April’s reverse cliff edge which will see 100 per cent reinstatement of business rates.”

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