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Hogmanay at home – or face arrest


By David G Scott

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After the First Minister urged the public to act responsibly while celebrating New Year, police say they will use "enforcement powers" to disperse large groups of people gathering together tomorrow night.

Police Scotland's deputy chief constable Malcolm Graham urged the public to follow the Scottish Government's advice by celebrating Hogmanay and the New Year "in your own home" to suppress coronavirus.

Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said enforcement powers will be used to disperse gatherings.
Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said enforcement powers will be used to disperse gatherings.

DCC Graham said: "We're asking everyone to continue to do the right thing to stop the spread of this virus and protect public health as it's clear that there is an ongoing risk.

"Remember that parties and indoor gatherings of different households are not permitted and we will continue to use our enforcement powers to disperse large groups of people where necessary.

“Our approach throughout the pandemic has been to engage with the public, explain the legislation and guidance, and encourage compliance, but we will not hesitate to continue to use our enforcement powers as a last resort."

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has asked the nation to “stick with it and keep looking after each other” to ensure a safe start to 2021.

In a parliamentary statement, she also wished the country a brighter and happier New Year, although she warned of remaining vigilant during the "difficult winter weeks ahead".

She said: “As this awful year draws to a close, let me again thank everyone across Scotland for your sacrifice and patience, and for looking out for each other.

"We have every reason to believe that the spring of 2021 will bring better times but we must first get through these difficult few weeks of winter."

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urges the public to stay at home for Hogmanay.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urges the public to stay at home for Hogmanay.

She added: “It is vital we keep doing everything we can to suppress this virus to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and to protect the NHS. So we must mark this New Year responsibly and in line with the restrictions in place.

“To be clear, that means no gatherings, no house parties, and no first footing. Instead, we should bring in 2021 in our own homes with just our own household.

“We know our prospects for the rest of the year will be better if we get off to a safe start so let’s stick with it, and keep looking after each other.

“And let me wish everyone when it comes a better, brighter and happier New Year.”

Scottish Government guidance covering New Year can be found at www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-festive-period/

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