Hogmanay celebrations have been cancelled across Scotland in response to the surging spread of coronavirus, with people urged to stay at home and limit how many people they meet.
Scotland’s traditional large-scale Hogmanay celebrations have been cancelled as part of new Covid-19 restrictions announced by Nicola Sturgeon last week.
The First Minister also introduced new curbs on hospitality and urged people to “stay at home as much as possible” until at least the first week of January.
New limits on large public gatherings have forced the cancellation of New Year’s Eve street parties, including the one planned for Edinburgh.
Hogmanay street parties across Scotland have been cancelled, with crowds at outdoor public events capped at 500 since Boxing Day, for at least three weeks, and numbers at indoor public events limited to 100 standing or 200 seated.
Ms Sturgeon said the restrictions were aimed at cutting down transmission of the Omicron coronavirus variant and because “large events put an additional burden on emergency services”.
Explaining the latest guidance Ms Sturgeon said: “Over Hogmanay and New Year’s Day, and for at least the first week in January, we are advising everyone to stay at home more than normal, to reduce contacts with people outside our own households, and to limit the size of any indoor social gatherings that do take place so that they don’t include people from any more than three households.”
Announcing the restrictions, Ms Sturgeon said: “This will, of course, make sports matches, including football, effectively spectator-free over this three-week period.
“And it will also mean that large-scale Hogmanay celebrations, including that planned here in our capital city, will not proceed.
“I know how disappointing this will be for those looking forward to these events, and for the organisers of them.”
For three weeks from January 27, pubs and other venues selling alcohol will also be required to offer table service only and indoor hospitality venues are to ensure one-metre social distancing between groups of people.
Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney also told new year revellers planning to travel to England amid more relaxed Covid restrictions that this would be the “wrong course of action”.
Mr Swinney said while there is nothing to stop partygoers from heading south of the border, where nightclubs are still open, for their Hogmanay celebrations, this would go against the “spirit” of the regulations put in place by the Scottish Government.
On Friday afternoon, Edinburgh Waverley station remained quiet, with staff telling the PA news agency most trains heading to England were approximately half full and it was even quieter than a normal day.
The latest coronavirus figures in Scotland showed daily coronavirus cases hit a record high for the second consecutive day, with 16,857 newly-infected people.
Figures published by the Scottish Government on Thursday show 71,612 new tests for Covid-19 reported results and 27.1% were positive.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the record reflects the Omicron variant of the virus being “very, very infectious” and added the “likelihood of getting it just now if you mix with others is high”.
Thursday’s daily case figure breaks the previous high of 15,849 announced on Wednesday.
Last Hogmanay, all of mainland Scotland was in the highest tier of Covid-19 restrictions, banning indoor visiting as well as more than six people from two households meeting outdoors.
Despite the lockdown, police were called to disperse large crowds at Edinburgh Castle and Calton Hill.