New legislation will protect people, public services and the economy.
The Scottish Parliament has unanimously supported new emergency powers to help protect the public, maintain essential public services and support the economy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill adjusts the law on evictions to protect people renting their homes in the private and social sector.
The Bill delivers new provisions that are designed to ensure businesses, consumers and public services continue to operate effectively and makes necessary adjustments to the criminal justice system to ensure essential services continue.
People and some small businesses that are unable to repay debts due to the outbreak will be able to apply for a six-month ‘breathing space’ period.
This will allow them to seek money advice and find long-term solutions to repay debts.
The Bill also allows licensing authorities to extend the deadlines for licence applications that allow the sale and supply of alcohol, and taxi and private hire.
This flexibility will help to minimise the risk of losing current licensing rights due during the outbreak.
Constitution Secretary Michael Russell said:
“Scotland is facing an unprecedented situation.
“This emergency Bill delivers necessary powers that will allow us to prioritise tackling the coronavirus pandemic.
“People across the country have responded magnificently as we work together to save lives.
“It is in that spirit of co-operation and consensus that we have worked across Parliament to pass these vital – time-limited – measures,
“By unanimously passing this Bill the Parliament has ensured practical help will be given to many businesses and to people struggling financially because of the crisis.
“The Scottish Government will continue to engage across parties to help the country get through this most testing of times.
“In particular we must have a criminal justice system that can operate effectively while treating all those involved, including victims, fairly.”