Eleven areas in Scotland are being moved to tier four restrictions, meaning all non-essential shops have to close, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
The First Minister made the announcement at Holyrood, saying she wanted to get infection rates down in time to ease restrictions for Christmas.
Sturgeon said the changes would kick in from 6pm on Friday (20th November) and last for three weeks until 11th December.
The councils moving up to the fourth level — the highest tier of restrictions for Scotland - are the City of Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian.
Sturgeon said: “The infection rates in all these areas remains stubbornly and worryingly high.”
Sally Pattle, manager of Far From the Madding Crowd in Linlithgow, West Lothian, told The Bookseller: “Of course, there is scant information for businesses as is par for the course, so we're trying to forge ahead with plans for click and collect and constantly changing window displays, plus a marketing campaign to let people know we're not closed, we are here for everything bar browsing.”
Pattle, who has been highly critical of the Scottish government's ever-changing advice, said she had “no idea” what the new restrictions would mean for her business.
She said: “Hopefully we'll make it through this year, but as I have no idea when tier four restrictions will be lifted, I honestly don't know. At another time, I'd like to ask why the Scottish government thinks it's appropriate to make these pronouncements with no prior consultation with business organisations, or the courtesy of letting us know what's going on.”
However, Marion Sinclair, c.e.o. of Publishing Scotland, said: "The decision to move those areas – a large part of the Scottish population – into tier four is something that we, in common with every other business group, will have reservations about, particularly given the timing, so close to Christmas, as the shops will now close in those areas, but the argument about the need to balance public health and the economy has largely been made.
"What is important is the level of support that businesses and individuals will have access to, as a result of the restrictions, and we will be looking out for those, on behalf of members. This is a crucial time for sales, and for impulse or browsing in shops, and the feelgood factor of Christmas shopping will be lessened. Having more sales migrate online is not entirely beneficial. Independent publishers – who make up most of our membership – will be feeling this keenly."
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