Sturgeon warns she could CUT numbers for group gatherings and ban people from long journeys if ‘minority’ flout laws


NICOLA Sturgeon has warned she could cut the number of people allowed to see one another and ban long journeys if a “even a minority” of people ignore the rules.

The First Minister relaxed restrictions in Scotland on Friday, allowing people to meet up outdoors for the first time in months but she wouldn’t hesitate to bring back more restrictions.

Nicola Sturgeon she would cut back the number of people who can meet up if people flout rules

Ms Sturgeon said the “vast majority” had complies with advice from the Scottish Government to keep gatherings to eight people or less and to stay local.

But she said it was clear some people were flouting the rules after police had to break up 797 gatherings on Saturday.

She issued a warning to the people ruining other’s enjoyment of eased restrictions: “To the minority that flout all of this, it’s not just the virus running out of control you’re risking – it’s taking flexibility away from people who are abiding by the rules.”

Current advice tells people not to travel beyond 5 miles of their home and to stay away from beauty spots and tourist destinations

But Ms Sturgeon said she would make restrictions illegal if people continued to ignore them

Traffic around beauty spots such as Loch Lomond and Glen Coe was “about three times higher” than it was the previous weekend, as Scotland made tentative steps out of lockdown.

Ms Sturgeon said it was “hard to see” how the huge crowds had been caused by local residents.

She said: “It’s worth being clear that if there is continued evidence of even a minority not abiding by these guidelines and travelling unnecessarily, or meeting up in larger groups, we will have to put these restrictions on group size and travel distance into law.

“We will not hesitate to do that if it is necessary for the collective wellbeing of society.”

Ms Sturgeon has taken much more cautious steps to ease lockdown restrictions than Boris Johnson, who began easing restrictions in mid-May.

In England, people are able to travel long distances for day trips and beaches have been heaving with people.

Ms Sturgeon warned progress to curb new infections of coronavirus was fragile and there could be a second peak if people aren’t careful

She said: “The virus is being suppressed, but it has not gone away and it is still extremely dangerous.”

“The progress we have made so far is simply not guaranteed and is not irreversible.

“Cases could increase again, it would not take much for that to happen, and that would result in more loss of life.

“If all of that happens, then restrictions will have to be re-imposed rather than being further relaxed.”