Police Scotland have confirmed that they may be forced to turn day trippers away at the border, if England’s lockdown is eased on Sunday.
Currently, it looks as though Boris Johnson may be planning to lift some restrictions on Monday in England, but the Scottish Government have confirmed that the rules will not be relaxed north of the border.
Day trippers from England face being stopped by Scottish police at the border and told to go home should the situation arise.
A senior police officer for Police Scotland said that drivers will be stopped from crossing over the Scottish border if their journey is deemed to be ‘non-essential.’
When asked about the potential difference in rules, the senior police officer said “Therein lies the 64million dollar question.”
He also confirmed that day trippers from England “are likely to be, on face value, turned back or face prosecution.”
On Sunday, Boris Johnson will make a live televised address to the nation, to discuss his plans for easing lockdown, but the measures he describes will only apply to England, unless devolved nations agree to follow the same path.
Nicola Sturgeon has already confirmed that she will not bow down to pressure to lift the Coronavirus lockdown too early in Scotland, and insists that she will only do so when the time is right.
She confirmed on Thursday “The potential changes that have been reported in the media today have not yet been discussed with the Scottish Government or, as far as I know, with the other devolved governments.
“If and when those discussions do take place, I will make very clear, as I have all along, that it is my preference, if possible, for all four UK nations to make changes together at the same pace. That certainly helps us give clear consistent messages to you the public.
“However for that approach to work, we must agree to make changes only when all four governments are satisfied we don’t risk a resurgence of the virus.
“If the Prime Minister decides that he wants to move at a faster pace for England than I consider is right for Scotland, that is his right, I will respect that and I will not criticise him for doing that.”
When asked if she would discuss policing the border with Boris Johnson, Nicola Sturgeon told reporters yesterday, “That’s not something I anticipate discussing with the Prime Minister today, no, but we will focus on what is right and what is not right to continue to suppress this virus.”
Nicola Sturgeon said that the only measure she would consider easing at the moment would be on outdoor exercise, which is currently limited to once a day.
When asked whether or not she would be looking to open beer gardens, in line with Boris Johnson’s possible plans for England, she said “I particularly strongly believe that for us to drop the clear, well understood ‘Stay at Home’ message right now could be a potentially catastrophic mistake. “
From Monday, it has been reported that Johnson will allow unlimited outdoor exercise in England. He will also tell employees to go back to work, where workplaces have stayed open during the lockdown. Garden centres are also on course to reopen and rules surrounding open air markets, high streets and cemeteries are due to be clarified.
But in Scotland, those rules will not apply. The legal decision for easing lockdown measures lie with devolved administrations around the UK. The Scottish Government may however look to relax rules on outdoor exercise, as hinted by Nicola Sturgeon during her recent daily press briefings.