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New coronavirus restrictions limit gatherings to just six people

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New coronavirus restrictions limit gatherings to just six people

Nicola Sturgeon has announced tighter coronavirus controls which will restrict gatherings to a maximum of six people both indoors and outdoors.

The First Minister said the new rule applies in all locations, including homes, pubs, restaurants, outdoor spaces and private gardens.

The current guidelines allow eight people from three different households to meet indoors, but the new restrictions, which will be brought in from Monday, will limit gatherings to just two different households.

It follows the announcement by Boris Johnson which also limits the number of people who can gather together to six.

But, unlike in England, children under 12 will not be counted within the limit in Scotland.

Sturgeon confirmed that Scotland will remain in phase three of the route map out of lockdown and indicated this is likely to be the case “for some time yet”.

It means that theatres, live music venues, indoor soft play facilities and indoor contact sports for people aged over 12 will not now open next Monday as hoped.

The new indicative date for these facilities reopening is now 5 October.

Spectators will not be able to return to sports stadia and other venues over the next three weeks, although two pilot events due to take place at the weekend will still happen.

Sturgeon said the pandemic is accelerating again, albeit from a low base, with the R number now possibly as high as 1.5.

She said: "The pause in our route map and the new restrictions I have outlined today are not welcome. I know that. The Scottish Government did not want to have to impose them. But they are necessary.

“And they reflect the fact that Scotland – like the rest of the UK, Europe and the world – is currently in a precarious position.

“However, notwithstanding that, we are in a much better position than in late March."

She added: “I know that making those choices – keeping our distance from friends, staying in small groups indoors, washing our hands regularly – gets harder and more tiresome as time passes. But they are more important now than they have been for months."

In her announcement, Sturgeon also said it will become mandatory to wear face coverings when moving around in pubs and restaurants, and it will also be mandatory for all hospitality staff to wear face coverings.

She reported there were 161 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours.

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