Scotland will be placed into a national lockdown from midnight tonight (Jan 4) – with car dealers hoping they’ll be allowed to continue with click-and-collect services.
Making the announcement, first minister Nicola Sturgeon said a lockdown would be in effect in Scotland for the duration of January as the current Tier 4 restrictions weren’t enough to tackle coronavirus.
From tomorrow (Jan 5), she announced, mainland Scots will be legally required to stay at home in a move that mirrors the lockdown put in place in March.
People will only be allowed to leave their homes for essential purposes, including essential shopping, caring responsibilities and exercise.
Currently, what this means for car dealers is unclear.
However, Scottish Motor Trade Association chief executive Sandy Burgess told Car Dealer this afternoon (Jan 4) that dealers’ fallback position in Scotland was click-and-collect until told otherwise.
He added that he’d already written to the Scottish government seeking clarity and further details as a matter of urgency.
Among the changes published this afternoon on gov.scot, from January 8, ‘showroom elements of larger retailers’ must close.
Dealers hope that means click-and-collect will be allowed as well as service and repair work – the latter has been allowed to continue during all lockdowns as an essential service.
Group boss Peter Vardy told Car Dealer he was awaiting news of what the lockdown meant for dealers, but said he would be insisting that colleagues wear a mask at all times in his dealerships, whatever the circumstances, and that those who can work from home will do so.
He said: ‘We will ask all non-customer-facing staff to work from home now. We’re waiting to hear the details, but are hoping it means the current restrictions that are in place, ie, showrooms are closed and click-and-collect can continue, will still be the case.
‘We will be asking all colleagues to wear a mask at all times now, though. Before, they could take them off in a meeting room or similar, but from now it’ll be masks at all times.’
In mainland Scotland, businesses – including car dealers – had already closed their doors under Tier 4 restrictions but click-and-collect services were allowed.
Sturgeon told MSPs: ‘The advice of our clinical advisers is clear that the increased transmissibility of the new variant means that the current Level 4 measures may not be sufficient to bring the R number back below one.
‘It is essential that we further limit interaction between different households to stem the spread and bring the situation back under control while we vaccinate more people.
‘In short, we must return for a period to a situation much closer to the lockdown of last March.’
People who are shielding in Scotland have been told not to go into work.
Rules around outdoor gatherings will change to only allow two people from two households to meet outdoors.
Schools in Scotland will remain closed to most pupils until February at the earliest. However, schools will stay open for children of key workers who can’t work from home and for vulnerable youngsters.
The new rules apply to all parts of Scotland in level 4. Island areas currently in level 3 will stay at that level but be kept under review.