Most Covid restrictions to be lifted from Monday
Nightclubs can reopen and other hospitality venues can resume working as normal from Monday, the First Minister has announced.
Addressing the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday afternoon, Nicola Sturgeon said the data indicated Scotland had “turned the corner on the Omicron wave”.
But she warned there were “still some uncertainties ahead” and therefore restrictions must be phased out rather than lifted in one go.
All legal measures introduced in December as a result of Omicron will be lifted from Monday, as will the guidance on the three-household limit on indoor gatherings and indoor contact sport.
But Sturgeon urged people to keep indoor gatherings small until the end of the month.
She said: “Notwithstanding the improving situation, the level of Covid infection circulating in the community is still high. To minimise the risk of getting the virus, it would be sensible for all of us to remain cautious in our social interactions at this stage.”
The First Minister also warned case numbers, which have started to fall across all age groups, could rise again as a result of the impact of restrictions being lifted and schools returning after Christmas.
Working from home rules are to remain in place for now, but the government is to start engaging with businesses shortly with a view to returning to hybrid working from next month.
There will be no change to the vaccination passport scheme, nor to self-isolation rules.
Tory MSP Sandesh Gulhane, whose party called for the lifting of all restrictions except face masks yesterday, welcomed the changes.
He said the statement “begins a sea change” in policy towards giving people personal responsibility, but he urged the government to allow people to return to workplaces and for the certification scheme to be scrapped.
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar meanwhile called for a framework for future restrictions and financial assistance, warning that changes “cannot be ad hoc”.
Sturgeon said that “fixed trigger points” for restrictions were not helpful and the government had to “retain a degree of flexibility” in case new variants emerged.
The latest figures show 7,752 people tested positive for Covid yesterday, using both PCR and lateral flow tests.
There are 1,546 people in hospital with Covid, including 59 in intensive care.
An extra 31 deaths of people who had tested positive for Covid in the last 28 days were reported.