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The Telegraph

Nicola Sturgeon faces backlash for keeping Glasgow under Level 3 Covid restrictions

Glasgow is to remain in the UK’s highest level of lockdown for another week and will lag behind the rest of Scotland as restrictions are eased further, Nicola Sturgeon said today as she faced a furious business backlash. Despite speculation that Scotland’s largest city may join the rest of the mainland in Level 2 restrictions ahead of the crucial bank holiday weekend, Ms Sturgeon confirmed that Glasgow would stay under Level 3 until at least Saturday June 5. The First Minister told a Covid-19 briefing that while case numbers in the city are “uncomfortably” high and that the so-called Indian variant now accounted for at least half of these, there are signs both positive tests and the rate of people in hospital with the virus are stabilising.

However, she said that Glasgow may be able to move into Level 2 restrictions on Saturday of next week, with a final decision to be announced on Wednesday. Under current measures, Glasgow residents are the only people in the UK not allowed to meet others inside their homes, hug loved ones, travel out of the city or drink alcohol indoors in pubs. Ms Sturgeon urged Glaswegians not to “lose heart” by the continued measures, which they have faced for over 270 days, as she admitted that the increased cases in the city “does seem to be concentrated in younger age groups” which “may indicate that vaccination is having a protective effect for older people”.

Decision provokes fury from local politicians and the hospitality sector The decision to keep Glasgow under the harsher restrictions provoked fury from local politicians and the hospitality sector, who accused SNP ministers of dodging scrutiny and failing to support crisis-struck businesses.

Andrew McRae, Scotland policy chair for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said the city was becoming used to “weekly Friday disappointments” and said breaking the “Friday-for-Monday announcement cycle” would give business owners more notice. “It’s very difficult to run a business, or plan your family finances, when you need to tune into the lunchtime news on a Friday to find out if you’ll be working on the Monday.” Meanwhile Stephen Montgomery, spokesman for the Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG), argued that people will “continue” to travel outside Glasgow as a result of the restrictions.

He also condemned SNP ministers’ decisions to approve a Euro 2020 fanzone in Glasgow Green as “staggering” when hospitality businesses still under Level 3 restrictions are thrown a “pitiful” GBP750 a week.