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Single-person households can form extended groups as Nicola Sturgeon announces stage two of lockdown easing

Nicola Sturgeon in parliament - Image credit: Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA Wire/PA Images

Single-person households can form extended groups as Nicola Sturgeon announces stage two of lockdown easing

Single person households will be able to form extended groups with one other household to ease loneliness as lockdown restrictions continue to be lifted.

Stage two of the “gradual” easing of lockdown restrictions will begin on Friday 19 June, Nicola Sturgeon confirmed today.

From Friday people will be able to meet up with two other households at the same time outside at two metres distance in groups of up to eight people.

They will also be allowed to go inside someone else’s house to use the toilet.

To ease loneliness people who live alone or where there is only a single parent and children under 18 will be able to form an “extended household group” with one other household.

They can meet indoors without physical distancing and stay overnight as long as no one in either household is shielding.

For those who are shielding lockdown will also be eased from Friday.

People who are shielding can now exercise outdoors and from Friday they can also take part in non-contact sports such as golf, fishing and kayaking and meet up with one other household outdoors and two metres apart.

Stage two of lockdown easing with also see businesses and other premises that have been closed begin to reopen over the next couple of weeks.

From Monday 22 June dentists will be able to reopen to carry out some non-emergency dentistry, professional sports will be allowed to restart behind closed doors, construction will enter he next phase of lockdown easing and places of worship can reopen for individual prayer.

It will also become compulsory to wear a face covering on public transport, including taxis, from Monday 22 June.

The following week, from Monday 29 June, all shops that have outdoor entrances and exits can reopen.

However, indoor shopping centres will stay closed apart from to allow access to essential shops such as supermarkets and pharmacies.

Outdoor markets, outdoor playgrounds, outdoor sports facilities, zoos and public gardens can also reopen from 29 June, although people must not travel more than five miles to visit them and tickets should be bought in advance.

Some indoor workplaces, including factories, labs and warehouses, can re-open from that date, subject to physical distancing, hygiene and health and safety guidance.

Non-essential offices and call centres must remain closed though.

Also from 29 June, restrictions on moving house will be lifted, registration offices will reopen for essential services, and marriages and civil partnerships will be permitted outdoors with limited numbers of guests.

However, the reopening of beer gardens and outdoor restaurant tables, which was expected in phase two, has now been postponed due to “emerging evidence” that pubs, restaurants and gyms are “hotspots” for infection, Sturgeon said.

She said that she would set out on or around 2 July whether they can reopen at all in phase two.

Announcing the move to stage two of lifting lockdown, the First Minister said: “Thank you for the personal sacrifices you’re making to tackle this pandemic.

“You’ve demonstrated remarkable dedication to our national wellbeing – that effort should never be underestimated, and my thanks can never be overstated.

“Because of your actions, we can now – gradually and carefully – change some restrictions.

“In deciding when to implement each measure in our staged approach, we have to think about how a decision in one area affects life in other areas.

“Our test and protect system is important to our gradual return to living more freely while suppressing the virus, and early indications suggest it’s already working well.

“I know for those shielding, the requirement to stay indoors at all times, without meeting up with anyone, has been incredibly tough.

“I hope that this change to our advice can provide a real improvement to your quality of life, without significantly increasing the risks you face.

“Our extended household groups will allow a grandparent who lives on their own to form a group with another household in their family, a single parent and their children to join with another household for support, and it will allow a non-cohabiting couple, where at least one of them lives alone, to be reunited.

“It will, I hope, help to ease some of the isolation which is one of the cruellest consequences of tackling this virus.

“I appreciate today’s announcement will be hard for the hospitality industry, but I want to give an assurance that we will continue to support preparations for re-opening.

“Ultimately, this is a social bargain. The prize for going a bit more carefully now is a recovery that is much more sustainable and will, I hope, allow more normality to be restored to our everyday lives while suppressing the virus.”

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