PEOPLE flouting social distancing rules will be fined £30 - while persistent offenders could face up to £960 if they keep ignoring them.

The Scottish Government is handing enforcement powers to Police Scotland from the Coronavirus Bill - making it a criminal offence to flout the social distancing rules.

The public is only permitted to leave their homes if they have “reasonable excuse” such as work that cannot be carried out at home, shopping for food and medical supplies and daily exercise.

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Police Scotland can issue penalty notices of £30, rising to £60 if not paid within 28 days - where officers have reason to believe there has been an offence under the regulations.

The penalties will be doubled for each repeat offence up to a cap of £960 - with no reduction for those who pay early.

Enforcement powers can be used by police against venues and businesses that have been told to close their doors in a bid to stop the spread of Covid-19 - such as pubs, restaurants and gyms.

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said: "I thank the overwhelming majority of people who are complying with very clear guidance to stay at home.

"I expect the public to continue to do their duty and contribute to the national effort to keep people safe from the spread of coronavirus.

"This is a challenging time for people who have to adjust their daily habits and everything we do will be done in a fair, reasonable and proportionate manner.

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"Those who persistently and blatantly defy the law must know we will enforce the law."

The rules will be reviewed at least every 21 days to ensure they are still necessary.

Constitution Secretary Michael Russell said: “There has been a huge effort by the people and businesses of Scotland to respond to the unprecedented situation we face dealing with the coronavirus.

“I would like to thank everyone who is playing their part by staying at home to ensure the social distancing measures we have introduced help stop the spread of the virus.”

He added: “While the majority of people are doing the right thing, these regulations provide the police with emergency powers to enforce social distancing where necessary.

“It is only because of the unprecedented crisis we are facing, and to save lives, that these powers are being introduced. They are temporary and will be kept under review.

“I urge the people of Scotland to continue their outstanding collective effort and follow the rules that have been laid down.”