Nicola Sturgeon: UK policy on air bridges has been shambolic

Nicola Sturgeon: UK policy on air bridges has been shambolic

The Scottish First Minister today tore into the UK Government, and accused them of leaving Scotland in the dark.

Nicola Sturgeon criticised the speed at which Westminster expected Scottish ministers to make a decision on lifting quarantine on overseas visitors.

She hit out at claims that Scotland was deliberately holding up agreement for the air bridges scheme, saying the Scottish Government had been given less than a day to consider the proposed travel list.

She said it needed to carefully scrutinise "medium risk" countries.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the move will help reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19 indoors.

"The guidance will be different for different sectors - clearly the mitigations for a restaurant or a bar will be different to those for a hairdresser".

The business organisation added: "Politics must be put to one side by all in order to give Scottish businesses the ability to drive up demand and do what they do best, making Scotland the best place to invest and do business".

"Face coverings will be mandatory", said Ms. Sturgeon, adding: "This is not a decision we have taken lightly. And Scotland has a long-standing reputation of being an open and welcoming country".

"We can not allow ourselves to be dragged along by another Government's shambolic decision-making process".

"Let me be unequivocal about this - we want to welcome visitors again from around the world, and of course we also want to allow our own citizens to travel".

"We also want, if possible for obvious practical reasons, to have alignment on these matters with the rest of the United Kingdom".

He said: "At the beginning of the week I said this would be announced by the end of the week, I was hoping to be able to do it earlier, but unfortunately we have not been able to get the devolved administrations to sign up to it yet".

People in Scotland will have to wear face coverings if they want to go to the shops from 10 July.

"We have been working with all devolved administrations on quarantine from the outset and we continue to do so", he said.

He told Sky News: "There will be a list of 50-plus countries".

Government sources had suggested there could be some overlap of the nations.

This morning the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps explained the list of countries was finally ready and the nation could finally plan to get away.

"Remember this isn't changing until the 10 July so there's still an opportunity for them to do that and they may well", he said. I'm not pointing fingers or trying to blame people for that but we have to make a judgment if we're heading into a period where more people are interacting.

"People have been waiting for this list all week, and that's why we delayed putting the list out there, to see if the devolved nations wanted to announce at the same time".

Meanwhile, Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports - which owns Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports - said regional variations will endanger livelihoods. That's important for our tourism sector, it is important for our aviation sector and it's important for our economy generally.

"While sticking to two metres has clear benefits there are also serious economic implications and an adverse economic impact, we know, can in turn have an effect on people's health and wellbeing".

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