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Covid restrictions easing: What can I do and when?


By John Davidson

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The lockdown restrictions across Scotland are due to ease from this weekend.

The Scottish Government has outlined a timetable for planned phasing of the rules being loosened.

Here we outline how the rules are expected to change as we progress through the spring and summer, subject to the continued suppression of the coronavirus.

As it stands

There is currently no indoor socialising allowed. Four adults from up to two households can currently meet outdoors while outdoor non-contact sports and organised group exercised can take place.

Communal worship is allowed with up to 50 attendees, subject to social distancing rules.

From Friday, April 2

The 'Stay at Home' requirement will be replaced with a 'Stay Local' message – meaning you can travel within your local authority area.

Garden centres will be allowed to open from April 5.
Garden centres will be allowed to open from April 5.

From Monday, April 5

More level four restriction are due to be eased:

  • The resumption of outdoor contact sport for 12 to 17-year-olds
  • Permitted retail list extended to include garden centres, key cutting shops, mobility equipment shops, baby equipment shops, electrical repair shops, hairdressers and barbers (not mobile services and by appointment only), homeware shops and vehicle showrooms (appointment only) and forecourts
  • Reopening of non-essential ‘click and collect’ retail
  • Return of college students within the top three priority groups identified by Colleges Scotland as most likely not to complete this academic year

The prohibition of in-home socialising will continue to be kept under review at this date.

April 12-19

All children go back to school full-time (date range due to different term times).

Driving lessons and tests could resume at the end of April.
Driving lessons and tests could resume at the end of April.

From April 26

The vaccine is expected to have been offered to priority groups one to nine by mid-April, allowing a "more significant reopening of the economy and society", including:

  • Outdoor socialising with up to six people from up to three households
  • Allowing 12 to 17-year-olds to meet outdoors in groups of six from up to six households
  • Travel within mainland Scotland permitted
  • Other shops can reopen and mobile close-contact services can resume
  • Gyms and swimming pools can reopen for individual exercise
  • Tourist accommodation to reopen (self-catering accommodation to be restricted in line with rules on indoor gathering)
  • Work in people’s homes can resume
  • Non-essential childcare permitted
  • Driving lessons and tests to resume
  • Weddings and funerals for up to 50 people (including wakes and receptions with no alcohol permitted)
  • Libraries, museums and galleries can reopen
  • Outdoor hospitality to open until 10pm with alcohol permitted – indoor hospitality permitted without alcohol and closing at 8pm
  • Social mixing in indoor public places, such as cafés, will be subject to a maximum of four people from up to two households

The prohibition of in-home socialising will continue to be kept under review at this date.

From May 17

This is an indicative date, when it is possible for the following easings of restrictions to take place:

  • Indoor mixing for up to four people from up to two households in private homes or public spaces
  • Bars, pubs, restaurants and cafés can stay open until 10.30pm indoors with alcohol permitted and until 10pm outdoors with alcohol permitted. Customers may need to book two-hour time slots for indoor hospitality.
  • Adult outdoor contact sport and indoor group exercises can resume
  • Cinemas, amusement arcades and bingo halls can reopen, subject to capacity constraints
  • Small-scale indoor and outdoor events can resume, subject to capacity constraints
  • Colleges and universities can return to a more blended model of learning
  • Non-professional performance arts can resume outdoors
Cinemas may be able to reopen in mid-May. Picture Merlin Cinemas
Cinemas may be able to reopen in mid-May. Picture Merlin Cinemas

June

The Scottish Government hopes that Scotland can move to level one – which the Highlands was in for much of the previous levels system – by the start of June, with a move to level zero on the cards by the end of that month.

If these changes go ahead as hoped, it would mean that, from early June:

  • Up to six people from up to three households can socialise indoors in a home or public place
  • Up to eight people from up to three households can socialise outdoors.
  • Eight 12 to 17-year-olds from eight households can meet socially outdoors
  • Hospitality can remain open until 11pm
  • Attendance at events can increase, subject to capacity constraints
  • Indoor non-contact sport can take place
  • Increased numbers at life events and places of worship
  • Casinos, funfairs and soft play can open, subject to capacity constraints

From end of June, it could mean that:

  • Up to six people from up to three households can socialise indoors in a home or public place
  • A phased return of some office staff
  • Events increase numbers subject to capacity constraints
  • Increased numbers at life events and places of worship

All of the above timetable changes are subject to change. The Scottish Government says it will take a "flexible, data-led approach" to the easing of restrictions, so the dates given here are indicative.

As always, people should follow the FACTS advice:

  • Wear a Face covering
  • Avoid crowded places
  • Clean hands and surfaces regularly
  • Stay Two metres away from other people
  • Self-isolate and book a test if you have Covid-19 symptoms (new continuous cough, fever or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste)

For more details, visit gov.scot/coronavirus


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