Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned citizens Monday her government may be forced to enforce new restrictions after a weekend of good weather prompted many people to violate social distancing rules.
At her regular briefing in Edinburgh, Sturgeon told reporters police had to disperse close to 800 groups on Saturday alone for not abiding by the guidelines, five times more than the previous Saturday.
Sturgeon said the rules will be tightened "if there is continued evidence of even a minority not abiding by these guidelines and traveling unnecessarily, if people meet up in larger groups or if they’re making journeys which risk spreading this virus."
Scotland's latest relaxed restrictions — allowing more than two people from separate households to meet and travel up to eight kilometers to scenic areas or "beauty spots" — officially came into effect on Monday.
But as Britain enjoyed warm, sunny weather over the weekend, beaches and parks were packed with visitors, with many people not observing social distancing guidelines to stay two meters apart.
Sturgeon said she would take no joy in creating new restrictions, but the progress Scotland has made against COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, is fragile. "Cases could increase again," she said. "It wouldn't take too much for that to happen rather than continuing to decrease. And if that happens, then that will result in more loss of life."
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — which comprise Britain — are moving at different speeds out of the lockdown that began March 23.
England has gone furthest, with some schools reopening on Monday and groups of six people now able to meet up outdoors, including in gardens, if social distancing guidelines are observed.