Locked down Scottish stores can reopen earlier Friday but travel restrictions remain
Retailers in areas of Scotland that have been under strict level 4 restrictions will welcome back shoppers on Friday morning with an added bonus: 12 hours more trading than expected.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has revealed retailers can now open at 6am on 11 December, with parts of the country in level 4 moving to level 3. Under the usual practice the new levels do not apply until 6pm that day.
In a special concession to stores and shoppers in the run up to Christmas, she said retail outlets could reopen earlier. "This is intended to help stores and shopping centres better manage the flow of customers after the period of closure", The National newspaper reported her as saying.
But she warned: "I would appeal to everyone living in level 4 areas to continue to exercise care and caution."
Most stores deemed non-essential have been closed across much of the west and central Scotland, including key shopping destination Glasgow, since 20 November when 11 councils areas were moved onto level 4 restrictions.
However, travel restrictions will remain in place that confine residents to shop within their individual 11 council areas.
Pauline McNeill, a Glasgow MSP, asked whether the government could lift travel restrictions to allow people living outside Glasgow to travel into the city to shop.
But the First Minister, who is the MSP for Glasgow southside, said she would not do so as she warned against large numbers of people crowding into the city's shops as had been the case elsewhere in the UK (such as London) when stores reopened after curbs eased.
She told MSPs: "I know how devastating the impact this is for every part of the country but particularly in area in a retail sense like Glasgow. Glasgow is my home. I know how much the city centre, the retail centre there matters to the health of the city".
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