Queuing outside supermarkets could return tomorrow as the Scottish Government issued fresh guidance to businesses to help curb the spread of Omicron.
Shops, offices and hospitality venues will be legally required to take “reasonable measures” to minimise the transmission of the virus from early Friday morning.
These include use of facemasks in indoor settings, control of the flow of customers entering and exiting stores, and using floor marking to separate people at ‘pinch-points’ such as tills.
Workplace testing is being extended, and businesses with more than 10 employees are being encouraged to sign up to receive free lateral flow kits to ensure staff are able to test regularly.
The Scottish Government is making a £100 million financial package available to support businesses, with a further £100 million allocated for self-isolation support grants. Details of the funding is to be set out shortly.
Scenes from earlier in the pandemic
Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said: “The Omicron variant is spreading at a rapid pace and we have had to work extremely quickly to get revised guidance in place for businesses, to take effect from 00.01 Friday 17 December.
“It is crucial that everyone follows this guidance to support businesses to keep their premises safe and prevent transmission of Omicron, especially as we ramp up booster vaccinations.
“Please get your booster, test regularly, follow the guidance, wear a mask and distance from people when you’re out and about. All of these layers of protection will help to limit the spread of Omicron, especially as we approach the festive period.
Ms Forbes added: “I am also making a plea to be considerate to staff who are doing their best during this challenging period.
“In addition to guidance, we know that businesses need financial support now. We are working to get funding out to businesses as soon as we can but the Treasury must also step up and provide urgent funding beyond what we are able to provide.
“I wrote to the Chancellor last night and the First Minister has requested talks with the Prime Minister – this situation is serious and we need the UK Government to engage with us on further support.”