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Four people from two households permitted to meet anywhere outdoors from Friday

In her statement to parliament yesterday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that from Friday, four adults from up to two households will be allowed to meet in any outdoor space, including private gardens.

Young people ages 12 to 17 will also be allowed to meet in groups of up to four, but with no limit on the number of households, and organised group activities and non-contact sports for adults will be allowed with groups of up to 15 people.

The First Minister also said that from 26 March, communal worship will be allowed with a maximum of 50 people attending, up from the previous number of 20, if 2-metre physical distancing could be accommodated.

This would allow worship to restart in time for Passover, Easter, Ramadan and Vaisakhi.

Initially, the easing of restrictions outside was due to come into effect on 15 March, but this has now been brought forward due to the positive trend in coronavirus data.

Daily new cases have fallen from an average of 815 a day, two weeks ago, to 490 a day this week and rates of positive coronavirus tests have dropped to just 3 per cent.

Studies in care homes have shown that the vaccination programme reduces deaths significantly, and that there is some evidence that vaccines can reduce transmission as well as serious illness.

In her statement, Sturgeon stressed the importance of a cautious approach and that the return of schools could push Scotland’s R number back above one, urging people to continue to follow all other lockdown measures, including not meeting people indoors.

The First Minister had made a statement on Monday following the incident in Glasgow where Rangers fans had broken lockdown rules while celebrating their league win. 

She said the behaviours displayed by some fans were “an absolute disgrace” and that “they show no regard or respect at all for the millions of households across Scotland who have been sticking to the rules”.

The actions threw the Celtic vs Rangers fixture on 21 March into doubt, as Sturgeon announced discussions regarding the Old Firm match would be taking place this week.

The total number of deaths recorded within 28 days of a positive Covid test now stands at 7,441 and 1,789,377 people have received one dose of the vaccine.

A further, more detailed, update on the easing of lockdown restrictions including non-essential retail and hospitality, is expected next week.

Image: Acabashi via Wikimedia Commons