Tories call for end to all restrictions except face masks

Under the Tory suggestions, self-isolation would be wound down before being dropped over ‘the coming months’.

Craig Paton
Monday 17 January 2022 14:35
Masks would be retained under the Scottish Tory plans (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Masks would be retained under the Scottish Tory plans (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The Scottish Tories have called on Nicola Sturgeon to remove most coronavirus restrictions, with the exception of face coverings.

Ahead of the First Minister’s Covid-19 update on Tuesday, where a decision is expected on current restrictions on hospitality and leisure venues, Tory leader Douglas Ross has asked her to go further.

As well as an end to restrictions currently on businesses, that put a cap of 100 on indoor standing events and 200 on seated events, enforce table service for alcohol-selling businesses and mandate social distancing between groups, the Tories are looking for the First Minister to announce the scrapping of the vaccine passport scheme along with guidance on household mixing and social distancing.

The Scottish Tory leader made the call ahead of the First Minister’s Covid-19 update on Tuesday (Fraser Bremner/Daily Mail/PA)

The Tory plea, which would see changes come into effect from January 31, also calls for mask wearing in schools to be dropped and work from home guidance to be dropped, while self-isolation would be “gradually phased out” over a period of months.

“The Scottish Government’s own data shows that we are past the peak of Omicron. The latest evidence means we can now be far more optimistic,” Mr Ross said.

“Protecting mental health, physical health and Scottish jobs is every bit as important as slowing the spread of Covid Our economy and the long-term health of the public must not be held back any longer than necessary.”

He added: “We believe the balance must now tip in favour of trusting the Scottish public to do the right thing and keep themselves and their families safe, as they have done throughout this pandemic.

“People across Scotland have learned to live with Covid. The success of Scotland and the UK’s vaccine scheme means the public can now tackle Covid through their own actions, without the need for so many government restrictions.”

This statement is the SNP’s opportunity to listen to and address the concerns of frontline NHS staff and patients

Jackie Baillie

Meanwhile, Scottish Labour have urged the First Minister to address issues in the NHS and provide support for small businesses.

“Just last week, we had Test and Protect staff being forced to turn to the media because their calls for further assistance had fallen on deaf ears,” deputy leader Jackie Baillie said.

“We have health boards going beyond ‘code black’ and reducing GP as well as hospital services; a staffing crisis with overworked employees at breaking point, and a social care system that is still reeling from the impact of SNP decisions at the start of the pandemic.

“This statement is the SNP’s opportunity to listen to and address the concerns of frontline NHS staff and patients.

“Scottish Labour also want to see a ramping up of support for small businesses.

“Small businesses are the bedrock of Scotland’s economic recovery and deserve better support from the SNP government.

“Announcements of money are always welcome but it is taking too long to reach those businesses most in need.”

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