The Scottish Government has outlined which businesses are allowed to remain open once tougher restrictions come into force.

From 6pm on Friday, millions of residents in 11 council areas will be placed in the highest tier of coronavirus measures for three weeks to combat “stubbornly and worryingly high” infection rates.

Non-essential shops will be forced to shut, with bars, restaurants, gyms, hairdressers and visitor attractions also prohibited from opening.

Meanwhile, rules on non-essential travel will become law.

But what constitutes an essential business?

Here’s the businesses allowed to remain open in Level 4, according to the Scottish Government:

  • Food retailers, including food markets, supermarkets, convenience stores and corner shops.
  • Off-licences and licensed shops selling alcohol (including breweries)
  • Pharmacies (including non-dispensing pharmacies) and chemists.
  • Newsagents.
  • Homeware, building supplies and hardware stores.
  • Petrol stations.
  • Car repair and MOT services.
  • Bicycle shops.
  • Taxi or vehicle hire businesses.
  • Banks, building societies, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs, cash points and undertakings which by way of business operate a currency exchange office, transmit money (or any representation of money) by any means or cash cheques which are made payable to customers.
  • Post offices.
  • Funeral directors.
  • Laundrettes and dry cleaners.
  • Dental services, opticians, audiology services, chiropody services, chiropractors, osteopaths and other medical or health services, including services relating to mental health.
  • Veterinary surgeons and pet shops.
  • Agricultural supplies shops and agricultural markets.
  • Storage and distribution facilities, including delivery drop off or collection points, where the facilities are in the premises of a business included in this sub-paragraph.
  • Car parks.
  • Public toilets.
  • Livestock markets or auctions.
  • Garden centres, plant nurseries, outdoor markets, and outdoor car lots.

What has the Scottish Government said?

Explaining the reasoning behind the closures, the Scottish Government says: “In moving to Level 4 we would expect to see very high or rapidly increasing incidence of the spread of COVID–19 and widespread community transmission which may pose a threat to the NHS.

“The priority in level 4 is to reduce movement of people so that we can reduce transmission of the virus.

“Shopping is an area which can attract a lot of people, many of whom travel to shops, including on public transport.

“By shutting non-essential shops, we limit the spaces where people are exposed to others in enclosed spaces for prolonged periods.

“Measures would be designed to be in place for a short period, to provide a short, sharp response to quickly suppress the virus.

“It is likely that this level would see the introduction of measures close to a return to full lockdown.

Has there been opposition?

However, the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) estimates a cost of around £90million a week in lost revenue.

SRC director David Lonsdale, said: “There is little evidence shuttering shops does much to suppress the spread of Covid, but it’s undeniable closing high street stores in November and into December during the critical Christmas trading period is a hammer blow to hard-pressed retailers.”