All of mainland Scotland, including East Lothian, has moved to a temporary lockdown.
The move is aimed at protecting the NHS and curbing the spread of the virus.
Inevitably the temporary lockdown will present further challenges to individuals, communities, business and council services in the weeks ahead. Supporting the communities of East Lothian, including young people and the most vulnerable, has been the council’s top priority throughout this pandemic.
We will publish any updates in relation to council services as necessary.
Some key points in relation to the First Minister's announcement:
Staying at home
The single best way of staying safe is for people to stay at home. It means it will only be permissible to leave home for a purpose such as caring responsibilities, essential shopping, exercise and being part of an extended household.
Anyone who is able to work from home, must do so.
The Chief Medical Officer wrote to everyone on the shielding list during the week beginning 4 January to set out advice. Those people should stay home as much as possible but can still go out for exercise and essential shopping or medicines. People on the shielding list should minimise contact with people outside your own household if they can and not use public transport. If someone who is on the shielding list, or if their child or someone they care for is on the shielding list, they can sign up for priority access to supermarket online delivery slots.
You should continue to work from home if you can.
If people on the shielding list cannot work from home, they should not go to work. The letter from the Chief Medical Officer acts as a fit note for as long as lockdown restrictions are in place.
Exercise and gatherings
Unlike the lockdown last year, the frequency of outdoor exercise is not being limited. However, the rule on outdoor gatherings has changed. Up to six people from two households were previously able to meet outdoors. Given the greater transmissibility of the new variant, gatherings are now limited to a maximum of two people from up to two households being able to meet outdoors.
Children aged 11 and under will not be counted in that limit, and they will also be able to play outdoors in larger groups, including in organised gatherings. However, for everyone else – including 12 to 17 year olds - outdoor exercise should only take place in a way which is consistent with the two people from two households rule.
In addition, strict travel restrictions remain in place across Scotland. People living in a Level 4 area – like East Lothian - cannot leave home except for an essential purpose. When you do go out, stay as close to home as possible and stay away from crowded places.
Additionally, no-one is allowed to travel into or out of Scotland unless it is for an essential purpose.
It was announced before Christmas that most school pupils would learn remotely – rather than in school – until Monday 18 January.
The Government has now decided to extend the 18 January date and keep schools closed to the majority of pupils until 1 February. This will be reviewed in mid-January with pupils learning remotely.
We will initially be providing childcare and then education in school for vulnerable children and the children of key workers and started working on the preparations for this prior to the Christmas break.
Other children will be undertaking remote learning from next week.
Other key points
Places of worship will be closed during this period for all purposes except broadcasting a service, or conducting a funeral, wedding or civil partnership.
While up to 20 people will still be able to attend funeral services, wakes will not be possible during January. And a maximum of five people will be able to attend wedding and civil partnership services.
The number of non-essential services which remain open will be further restricted.
The First Minister said it remains the priority to get school buildings open again for all pupils as quickly as possible and then keep them open.
However, right now, the level of community transition and uncertainty about the impact of new variant amongst young people, means that a cautious approach is being adopted at this stage.
Guidance on the new stay at home regulations, as well as the First Minister's statement to Parliament and a report on the state of the epidemic in Scotland, is available on the Scottish Government website.