On 23 October at the Coronavirus (COVID-19) update the First Minister's announced Scotland’s strategic framework which considers new powers for Environmental Health Officers.
The five-level framework indicates different levels of protection that might be needed based on different levels of transmission for the virus. It will allow for rapid but proportionate responses on both a local and national basis using a transparent range of measures and options.
The framework states the Scottish Government have used the current period of additional protective measures to review the current fine levels associated with offences under the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Scotland regulations. These will be kept under review as we move to the new protection levels approach and will consider whether it is appropriate to increase the fine level.
In addition, the Scottish Government are exploring conferring additional enforcement powers on Environmental Health Officers and Trading Standards Officers, building on direction-making powers put in place earlier this year, to support their intelligence-led approach to enforcement.
The framework will comprise five protection levels. ‘Level 0’ is effectively the same level of protection as the Route Map Phase 3 measures Scotland reached in August and will act as a baseline, with four levels above that designed to apply increasing protection from the virus in areas according to prevalence, the risk to. communities and the need to protect the NHS.
Levels 1, 2 and 3 will be broadly equivalent to the UK Government levels to offer some uniformity with measures south of the border. Levels will be reviewed on a regular basis.
Ongoing financial support is set out in the framework and will be available to businesses which are required to close or which can remain open but will be directly affected by restrictions. The Scottish Government will work with local authorities to ensure grants are made available quickly and efficiently.
In the coming days the Scottish Government will engage with local government, stakeholders, economic groups and other partners, prior to a final version of the strategic framework being debated in parliament on Tuesday (27 October).
Further details on which local authority areas of Scotland will fall under which levels will be announced following discussions with directors of public health and local authorities, taking on board recommendations from the national incident management team, before coming into force on 2 November