United Kingdom

Scotland closes its border to England as millions plunged into lockdown

11 local authorities are now under tier four restrictions (Pictures: PA; EPA; NNP)

Crossing the border into Scotland is illegal from tonight with anyone caught breaking the rules facing a £60 fine.

Regulations that came in at 6pm on Friday mean entering or leaving Scotland without a reasonable excuse is banned.

The travel ban came into force as more than two million people living in the country were plunged back into lockdown.

11 council areas across western and central Scotland have gone into the toughest level four restrictions which will last until December 11.

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As with England’s lockdown, schools will remain open but people have been told to ‘stay at home as much as possible’. 

Non-essential shops, businesses, pubs, restaurants and gyms have been forced to close and a travel ban has been imposed.

The travel ban on leaving Scotland applies to the whole of the country, while people in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands are not allowed to enter.

Residents in areas under level three and level four restrictions are also not allowed to leave their local council areas and face fines for doing so.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has faced criticism over the restrictions, with opposition MSPs questioning whether the Scottish Parliament has the power to enforce the travel ban.

Glasgow city-centre was packed with people getting last-minute shopping in and haircuts (Picture: PA)
As non-essential shops have been forced to close people had to rush to get Christmas shopping (Picture: PA)

Defending the measures earlier today she said: ‘These restrictions are difficult and we are all scunnered and fed up and I’m not going to stand here and pretend otherwise because I feel that same sense of being utterly scunnered and fed up as the rest of you do.

‘But we do now see a possible end in sight and I think it’s really important that we don’t forget that.

‘Level four restrictions will be lifted on December 11, they come into effect at 6pm today and they will be lifted at 6pm on December 11 – that full three week period.’

The restrictions on cross-border and internal travel are accompanied by a lengthy list of exemptions.  Scots can leave the country – or their locked down area – to feed an animal, donate blood or take a driving test. 

Shop owners had to remove signs describing their social distancing measures before closing today (Picture: PA)
People are not allowed to travel to other council areas (Picture: Getty Images)

Exemptions to the travel ban also apply for more common essential travel reasons, including for health reasons, work or for school.

The Scottish government has insisted that the regulations are ‘entirely within the remit of the Scottish parliament’.

Meanwhile Cumbria Police confirmed to MailOnline that they would not be conducting border checks and would expect anyone travelling to England to comply with the English lockdown rules currently in place.

Ahead of the restrictions coming into force, people were seen flocking to the high streets to get their Christmas shopping in.

Pictures showed residents queuing for hours outside Costco in Glasgow and rushing to get haircuts. 

Non-essential shops will be able to reopen on December 11 (Picture: Getty Images)
Anti-lockdown protestors have spoken out all over the UK (Picture: PA)

Scotland introduced a five-tier lockdown system in October following a circuit breaker lockdown that saw a ban on the sale of alcohol in huge swathes of the central belt.

The strictest tier four rules are now in force for 2.3 million people across East Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, West Dunbartonshire, North and South Lanarkshire, East and South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian.

It is hoped that the measure will allow some kind of easing over the Christmas period.

Ms Sturgeon has been involved in talks with political leaders from the other three nations of the UK as part of efforts to find a common approach to Christmas.

There are reports restrictions could be relaxed for a number of days between Christmas Eve and December 28, with households being allowed to mix.

However, scientists are concerned this could lead to a huge spike in the virus with another month in lockdown needed.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected]

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