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Nicola Sturgeon announces new dates for easing lockdown

Scottish Parliament TV

Nicola Sturgeon announces new dates for easing lockdown

Beer gardens and other outdoor hospitality can reopen from 6 July and people will be able to travel away for mini-breaks from next weekend, after the Scottish Government released dates alongside its updated 'route map' out of COVID-19 lockdown.

Announcing the plan during First Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Nicola Sturgeon said “indicative dates” could now be released alongside phases two and three of the route map.

“The sacrifices that have been made – and I know how hard and at times painful they have been – have suppressed the virus. They have also protected the NHS and have undoubtedly saved a significant number of lives,” she told Scottish Parliament.

“They have also brought us to the position where we can now look ahead with a bit more clarity to our path out of lockdown, and I hope details announced today will provide people and businesses with more certainty in their forward planning.

“But let me be clear that each step on this path depends on us continuing to beat the virus back. That is why we must do everything in our power to avoid steps being reversed. The central point in all of this is the virus has not – and it will not – go away of its own accord. It will pose a real and significant threat to us for some time to come.”

From 3 July the five-mile travel rule will be lifted, allowing people to travel further from home for leisure, and self-catering holiday accommodation will be permitted, as long as it required no shared facilities between households.

From 6 July outdoor hospitality will be allowed to commence “subject to the Scientific Advisory Group review”.

From 10 July Scotland will enter phase three, and on this date people will be able to meet in “extended groups outdoors, with physical distancing”, households will be permitted to meet indoors with up to a maximum of two households, with physical distancing.

Organised outdoor contact sport will resume from 13 July for children and young people, subject to guidance, dental practices can begin to see registered patients for non-aerosol routine care and optometry practices will be able to resume for emergency and essential eye care.

Also from 13 July, non-essential shops inside shopping centres can reopen, subject to scientific review.

From 15 July all holiday accommodation will be permitted and indoor hospitality can reopen, subject to scientific review. Hairdressers and barbers can also reopen from this date “with enhanced hygiene measures”, and museums, galleries, cinemas, monuments and libraries will reopen with physical distancing and other measures, such as ticketing in advance. All childcare providers will be allowed to reopen from 15 July subject to individual provider arrangements.

While England has announced the 2m social distancing rule will be relaxed, the same does not apply to Scotland and physical distancing of 2m is still required.

The FM confirmed the independent Scientific Advisory Group would provide advice on the 2m rule, physical distancing and “higher transmission risk settings” on 2 July ahead of the proposed dates for reopening hospitality. Additionally, detailed sectoral guidance will be published ahead of the indicative dates.

Sturgeon urged people to continue to abide by public health guidance, including by wearing face coverings in enclosed spaces, avoiding crowded places, washing hands, cleaning surfaces regularly, maintaining physical distancing and “agreeing to immediately self-isolate and get a test if we have symptoms”.

“All of these basic protections matter now more than ever as we all get out and about a bit more,” she said.

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