In Tuesday’s announcement, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that Scotland will move down to Tier 3 restrictions on Monday 26 April.
This includes the reopening of all non-essential shops and hospitality venues, as well as a lift of travel restrictions within the UK.
From next Monday, 6 people from up to 6 households will be able meet outside.
All pubs, restaurants and cafés can re-open.
Outdoors, they are permitted to serve alcohol and be open until 10pm.
Inside, they cannot serve alcohol and must close by 8pm.
6 people from up to 2 households can meet in these indoor hospitality venues, but indoor socialising at home is still not permitted.
In relation to this, Sturgeon said: “I know that can seem illogical.
“It can also seem really difficult and unfair, because it is difficult and unfair, but we know that the risks of transmission are higher in the home than in a café or bar because it can be harder to stick to physical distancing and to ensure good ventilation.”
Other places that will be allowed to open include:
- Indoor attractions and public buildings (museums, galleries, libraries)
- Gyms and swimming pools (individual exercise only)
- Non-essential work inside homes (cleaning, repair work)
- Tourist accommodation (for no more than 1 household)
- Close contact services such as beauty parlours
- Driving lessons and tests can resume
The University’s Pleasance Gym, Easter Bush Gym, and swimming pool have confirmed that they will open for individual exercise, while group exercise classes and indoor sport remain suspended.
People will also be allowed to travel anywhere within the UK for any purpose.
Even though this overall ban on domestic travel will be lifted, Sturgeon stressed that “we might need to enforce local travel restrictions from time to time, either within Scotland or between Scotland and parts of the rest of the UK, if there are areas that have flare ups of Covid, local outbreaks or where the general situation is causing concern.”
Non-essential international travel is still not permitted.
To this, Sturgeon added: “When we talk about international travel, there is a tendency including on my part to talk about holidays but for many people going to other countries it involves seeing their family, friends and loved ones.
“So I understand how difficult this is and how distressing this is for a lot of people and we do want to restore normality to international travel as quickly as possible.
“But we must be sensible as we do that in light of the risks that we face and in light of the risks that we see across many parts of the world.”
Concluding her speech, Sturgeon said: “I know that many people across the country will be looking forward to perhaps having a drink in a beer garden, catching up for a coffee with a friend in a café, going to the shops that you’ve not been able to visit for some time, or perhaps taking a break somewhere in Scotland.
“But even as we enjoy all of these moments, and I hope people do enjoy them because you have earned them, we still need to be careful.
“Covid is at much lower levels than it has been in a long time in Scotland but as you can see from the figures it is still there, it is still circulating.”
Further easing of restrictions is planned for May 17 (Tier 2), June 7 (Tier 1) and late June (Tier 0), to allow for a summer much closer to ‘normality’.
Image: via Wikipedia