Scottish newspapers say Nicola Sturgeon's lockdown is 'necessary'

‘We must cope with further restrictions to beat coronavirus’: Supine Scottish newspapers say Nicola Sturgeon’s ‘draconian’ circuit breaker lockdown is ‘necessary’ but warn it will be ‘cataclysmic’ for hospitality industry

  •  People north of the border this morning woke up to a clean sweep of front pages reporting on the crackdown
  • Headlines did not varnish the warnings from landlords which described the measures as ‘death sentences’ 
  • But leader columns, which reflect newspaperss editorial positions, were mostly sympathetic to Ms Sturgeon
  • Some outlets even trained their guns on Boris Johnson and the UK Govt for winding down furlough scheme 

Scottish media have largely rowed in behind Nicola Sturgeon’s coronavirus crackdown despite it striking a ‘cataclysmic’ blow to the country’s pub trade.

News stands north of the border today displayed a clean sweep of front pages reporting on the tightening of restrictions to wrestle down a surge in infections.

The First Minister has ordered all pubs and restaurants in the country’s central belt to close in a two-week ‘circuit breaker’, while other licensed venues will be hamstrung by at 6pm curfew and must only serve alcohol outside.  

Headlines did not varnish the warnings from landlords who described the measures as ‘death sentences’ that would sink many businesses still only treading water after the first wave.

But leader columns, which reflect the newspaper’s editorial position, were mostly sympathetic to Ms Sturgeon who they believe was left with little alternative in the face of a steep rise in cases. 

Some outlets even trained their guns on Boris Johnson for winding down the furlough scheme and leaving hospitality employees exposed to closures.  


People north of the border this morning woke up to a clean sweep of front pages reporting on the tightening of restrictions to wrestle down a surge in infections

Under the headline ‘Covid rules leave pubs and venues reeling’, The Scotsman newspaper splashed on the backlash from the country’s beleaguered hospitality sector. 

It unequivocally warned that ‘thousands of operators may be out of business by Christmas’ and devoted column inches to airing grievances from landlords. 

Except for the pro-independence National paper, which is fiercely loyal to the SNP, most rivals did not mince their words and carried equally bleak forecasts, describing the restrictions as a ‘death knell’ for firms.

Yet, pointing to the measures successfully employed by neigbouring European countries, The Scotsman’s own leader described the SNP Government’s action as ‘sensible’.

It said: ‘So it is clear the Scottish Government had to act when confronted by the cold, hard reality of the outbreak. 

‘And the action they have taken is based on the response by other countries in a similar situation, which seems sensible.’   


 Most did not mince their words and carried equally bleak forecasts, describing the restrictions as a ‘death knell’ for firms

The tabloid Daily Record agreed, and in an editorial said it ‘has consistently supported science-led advice and legislation on dealing with Covid-19.

‘If coping with further restrictions and making more sacrifices is needed to beat the virus and save lives, then that is what we have to do.’ 

Although Ms Sturgeon is in the ‘unenviable’ position of having to take ownership of the measures, The Herald claimed the round of curbs was ‘inevitable’.

Its leader said: ‘The prohibition on household visits and a curb on opening hours for hospitality venues are a significant imposition on personal lives and the economy, but at least not quite a return to comprehensive lockdown.’ 

Most papers offered suggestions to soften the blow to the pub trade, such as economic rescue packages from ministers. 

The Scotsman said: ‘The Scotsman has argued that the hospitality sector – of which pubs and restaurants are an important part – should be a special case for economic support from government. 


Headlines did not varnish the warnings from landlords which described the measures as ‘death sentences’ that would sink many businesses still only treading water after the first wave


The First Minister (pictured today in the Scottish Parliament) has ordered all pubs and restaurants in the country’s central belt to close in a two-week ‘circuit breaker’, while other licensed venues will have to shut at 6pm and can only serve alcohol outside

Charles Douglas Barr enjoys a pint outside The Las Drop pub in the Grassmarket after Nicola Sturgeon announced bars in the central belt must close from 6pm Friday

‘Our economy needs them to survive for the sake of its long-term health as once a business is gone, it can be hard to recreate or replace.’

The Record welcomed the £40million support pledged by Ms Sturgeon, but said ‘there was a disappointing lack of detail attached to the big number.’

‘If businesses are going to lose custom, and they will, they deserve to know how much support they will receive and when.’

Ms Sturgeon, who has been fronting daily press briefings throughout the pandemic, also came under pressure in the pages of The Herald to be more transparent in regards to justification for the pub closures.

It said: ‘If, for example, pubs – from which students are banned this weekend, with the full force of criminal sanctions – are particular vectors of infection (as the First Minister implies), where is the evidence for this claim? If it exists, let’s see it.’

But the Record stressed ‘the real focus should be on the UK Government and its terrible decision to wind down the furlough scheme’.

It ended a leader column in today’s paper: ‘If thousands of pubs go to the wall, Boris Johnson’s Government must take full responsibility.’ 

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