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by Andrew Learmonth
20 April 2021
Nicola Sturgeon set to confirm easing of lockdown restrictions

Staff at the Richmond pub in Liverpool bring in tables and chairs the night before new Tier 3 restrictions come into force. Photo: PA

Nicola Sturgeon set to confirm easing of lockdown restrictions

Nicola Sturgeon is expected to confirm next week’s easing of the lockdown, with shops, hospitality and gyms due to reopen next Monday.

The First Minister – who is due to give her regular COVID update at noon today – is also likely to drop restrictions on non-essential travel between Scotland, England and Wales.

Scots have been locked down since Boxing Day, but falling infection rates and hospitalisations should see some relaxing of the rules.

Some restrictions have already been eased earlier than expected, with hairdressers, click and collect services and homeware shops, as well as the resumption of outdoor contact sports for 12 to 17-year-olds were re-introduced on 5 April.

The ban on travelling around Scotland was also lifted on Friday.

It’s likely all local authority areas which are under level four restrictions will move down to level three.

However, there’s a row over government rules for the hospitality sector.

Draft guidance published by the government last week says people from different households must observe 1m social distancing inside and out, even if they’re at the same table.

The Scottish Hospitality Group described the guidance as a "farce”.

Pub owner and group spokesman, Stephen Montgomery, said: "I have to put six tables together to meet the requirements for six people from six different households. There is all the panic of trying to source tables.

"People are becoming scared now, because we are six days to opening up.

"We are getting so desperate right now. It is so confusing. The crux is it is not workable and not viable."

The Scottish Government said the draft guidance "may be amended subject to comments received to take into account engagement with stakeholders."

Read the most recent article written by Andrew Learmonth - Scotland has voted for a second independence referendum, says Nicola Sturgeon

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