The Prime Minister gave an update on the Covid pandemic on Wednesday, in which she confirmed that Scotland has registered a record number of 15,849 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours and reiterated the Scottish Government.
Due to the proliferation of the Omicron variant, football matches have been subject to a restriction of 500 spectators until at least January 17 – a decision that caused the Scottish Premier League clubs to advance their winter holidays.
Clubs in the lower leagues continue to play through the restrictions, and Stenhousemuir’s chairman, Iain McMenemy, in his Scotland on Sunday questioned whether “unconscious bias” was behind the decision to target football audiences while shopping centers remain open.
When asked about the perceived inequality under MSP’s questions, Sturgeon replied: “Yes, I understand the importance of sports, football and indeed other spectator sports.
“The benefits of it are seen in terms of mental health and a host of other ways.
“No one, including me, takes the decisions we have made during this pandemic lightly.
“I have tried to explain the rationale for limiting large-scale events, it is about the event’s super-spread in view of Omicron’s higher transmittability, but also the greater impact these events have on emergency services that are already extensive. There are also risks associated with traveling to and from some of these events.
“It’s not easy, no one wants to be in this position, but these are the reasons why the Scottish Government – like many other governments – has made these decisions and hopefully they will not last very long.
“There’s always the possibility of pointing to inconsistency, I’m never sure when questions like that are asked of me, whether the argument is that we should not have restrictions on football, or we should also have restrictions on shopping malls.
“We want to limit and minimize the protections that are in place and therefore the restrictions on people’s lives. But I ask people to remember the reason, the core of the advice we are giving right now is to stay at home as much as we can. , certainly more than would normally be the case at this time of year to try to limit your contact with people in other households and keep the contacts where they take place as small as possible.
“It applies regardless of the setting.”
Deputy Prime Minister John Swinney has also warned that it is too early to say whether restrictions will be lifted in time for the rescheduled Old Firm showdown on 2 February.
In a speech on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland program, Swinney stressed that he would not “prejudge” the situation with a formal review to take place on 11 January.
Asked specifically about the prospect of the Celtic v Rangers game being played behind closed doors, he said: “Well it’s far out, February 2nd, so we’ll take it as it comes.
“What I want to say is that the government does not want to have these restrictions in place a moment longer than they are necessary.”