SNP ministers today revealed unprecedented legal regulations curbing travel within Scotland and stopping people crossing the border.
The law kicks in tomorrow at 6pm and anyone who flouts the rules will be punishable by minimum £60 fixed penalties.
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But the Scottish Tories said there were “serious legal questions” about the draft regulations, and questioned whether Holyrood had the power to say on what terms people could enter or remain in Scotland.
Guidance accompanying the Scottish Government draft regulations says: “People who live in a Level 3 or 4 local authority area in Scotland are now required to stay in that area unless they have a reasonable excuse to travel, such as work, education, or welfare reasons.”
It adds: “Going on holiday, including abroad, is not a reasonable excuse to leave.
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“If it has been announced that your local authority area is about to move into either level 3 or 4 please do not then travel overseas for non-essential reasons such as a holiday.”
However, people will be able to leave a Level 4 lockdown council – or Scotland – under law for reasons including work and shopping for food.
People can also leave Level 3 or 4 areas and Scotland for exercise – if it’s within five miles of their local authority boundary.
And people can travel through Level 3 or 4 areas to get to other areas, or to get to another part of their own area.
A long list of exemptions are set out in regulations as “examples of reasonable excuse”.
The exemptions to the restrictions for Level 3 areas, and for leaving Scotland, are almost identical.
For leaving a Level 4 lockdown area, exemptions include
* To “obtain or provide” food or medical supplies for people in the same household, including animals, or for vulnerable persons. This also applies to “supplies for the essential upkeep, maintenance and functioning of the household” or for a vulnerable person.
* For “work or provide voluntary or charitable services, where it is not possible for the person to do so from home”.
* To “access, provide or receive childcare, education or training”, for prison visits, to “provide or receive emergency assistance”, or for “medical assistance” such as dental services or opticians.
* To move home or view homes, for shared parenting arrangements, to participate in legal proceedings, donate blood, vote, or access a list of public services such as social services, benefits services.
* To access voluntary or charity services, including food banks, or to use “waste disposal or recycling facilities”.
* For outdoor exercise as long as it “is not organised”, “starts and ends at the same place”, and is “within 5 miles” of the person’s council area. * For professional sports people can leave their area to train or compete.
* To attend a marriage or civil partnership ceremony, attend funerals or wakes, or “travel for compassionate reasons” relating to “the end of a person’s life”.
* For feeding or care for an animal, “including obtaining veterinary services”.
* And “where the person is a member of an extended household”, people can leave their area to “visit a member of the household which forms the other part of the extended household”
For Level 3 areas – unlike in Level 4 – people can leave their area for driving lessons or a driving test and to “attend the person’s usual place of worship”.
People can also leave Scotland for driving lessons or to take a driving test, or to “attend the person’s usual place of worship”.
Additionally, people can leave Scotland to “participate in or facilitate organised activity, sport or exercise which is for persons under 18 years of age”.
The Scottish Conservatives tonight raised concerns about the regulations.
MSP Adam Tomkins, a law professor, said: “There are serious legal questions to be asked about the draft regulations published by the Scottish Government, which include rules about who may ‘enter or remain in’ Scotland.
“These rules appear to affect British and Irish citizens across the UK and Ireland.
“Is this within Holyrood’s competence? For one thing, freedom of movement would appear to be expressly reserved to the UK Parliament under the Scotland Act.
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“For another, it’s not clear that the Scottish Parliament can make rules contrary to the Common Travel Area, as agreed to by the UK and Ireland.
“It’s not at all clear if the draft regulations published today are within the remit of the Scottish Parliament.
“There are, at least, grave doubts about the legal competence to act in the way Scottish Ministers propose.”
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