Tough new lockdown restrictions have come into force across the whole of Scotland.

The First Minister announced on Wednesday the introduction of six more measures in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.

They came into force just after midnight, and comes at what Nicola Sturgeon described as a "critical and dangerous moment" in the pandemic.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Ms Sturgeon 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.

“At this critical and dangerous moment, please: Stay Home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.”

Here's the big changes:

Takeaways

Fast food takeaways, including many big-name chains, will face tighter restrictions as customers will no longer be permitted to go inside to collect takeaway food or coffee.

Any outlet wishing to offer takeaway will have to do so from a serving hatch or doorway.

This reduces the risk of customers coming into contact indoors with each other, or with staff.

Click and Collect services 

Shops that have been operating a Click and Collect service will have to stop doing so under the new guidelines.

Now, only retailers selling essential items will be allowed to offer click and collect.

This will include, for example, clothes and footwear, baby equipment, homeware and books.

All other click and collect services must stop.

The First Minister said: "More importantly, for click and collect services that are allowed, staggered appointments will need to be offered to avoid any potential for queuing, and access inside premises for collection will not be permitted."

Irvine Times: Credit: Colin MearnsCredit: Colin Mearns

Working from home 

The Scottish Government intends to "strengthen" the obligation on employers to allow their staff to work from home wherever possible.

The law already says that people should only be leaving home to go to work if it is work that cannot be done from home.

This is a legal obligation that falls on individuals.

However, Nicola Sturgeon announced that she will now introduce statutory guidance to make clear to ensure that employers support employees to work from home wherever possible.

For all employers, the basic message is that if your staff were working from home during the first lockdown, they should be working from home now.

Working from inside other peoples homes 

Guidance from working inside peoples homes has now become law.

Ms Sturgeon said: "We have already issued guidance to the effect that in level 4 areas work is only permitted within a private dwelling if it is essential for the upkeep, maintenance and functioning of the household."

No restrictions on exercise - but stay at home

No changes have been made for rules around outdoor exercise, however, Ms Sturgeon reiterated the "stay at home" regulations.

The First Minister said: "This is intended to close an apparent loophole rather than change the spirit of the law. It will also bring the wording of the stay at home regulations in Scotland into line with the other UK nations.

"Right now, the law states that people can only leave home for an essential purpose.

"However, having left home for an essential purpose, someone could then stay out of their home to do something that is not essential without breaching the law as it stands.

"So the amendment will make it clear that people must not leave or remain outside the home unless it is for an essential purpose.

"This change will provide legal clarity to facilitate any necessary enforcement.

Ms Sturgeon added: "I want to be clear though that this does not change the range of essential purposes that currently enable people to leave their house - nor does it, for example, put any time limit on how long you can be outdoors for essential exercise.

"But it does mean that if the police challenge you for being out of the house doing something that is not essential, it will not be a defence to say you initially left the house to do something that was essential."

 

Alcohol changes

At the moment, different parts of Scotland have different laws in relation to the consumption of alcohol in outdoor public places.

However, from today, it will be against the law in all level 4 areas of Scotland to drink alcohol outdoors in public.

This will mean, for example, that buying a takeaway pint and drinking it outdoors will not be permitted.

Ms Sturgeon said: "I know this will not be a popular move.

"But it is intended to underline and support the fact that we should only be leaving home just now for essential purposes.

"That includes exercise or recreation but not simple socialising.

"And when you do leave the home, you should only meet one person from another household, in a group no bigger than two people.

"I know this is a hard message - and it is not one I want to be sending - but it is vital to reduce the risk of the virus spreading."