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Coronavirus restrictions in Scotland to be eased with ‘stay at home’ replaced by ‘stay local’

© Jane Barlow/PA WireNicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon

“Stay at Home” will become “Stay Local” as the planned easing of coronavirus restrictions goes ahead from Friday.

Despite cases “plateauing” rather than continuing to decline, Nicola Sturgeon said that the order to remain at home unless going out for an essential purpose would be lifted.

The new rules still prevent non-essential travel across local authority area boundaries, and will be in place for at least three weeks.

Sturgeon said: “I fully understand how frustrating that is for everybody – I share that frustration – like many of you, my family live in a different local authority to the one I live in, and so like anyone with loved ones in a different part of the country, I desperately want to see them in person.”

On Monday, hairdressers and barbers can reopen for pre-booked appointments, click and collect shopping will be permitted, and homeware shops and garden centres can welcome back customers.

University and college students can also return for in-person teaching and outdoor contact sports for 12-17-year olds may resume.

The first minister said she will give further updates in April but that Scotland is on course to ease restrictions further, with cafes, restaurants, shops and gyms due to open from April 26 and more people allowed to meet up outdoors.

The latest coronavirus figures show 12 deaths and 411 positive tests were recorded in the past 24 hours.

It brings the death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 7,596.

Sturgeon said: “There are still no grounds for complacency.

“In fact, it is really important right now that while the vaccination programme continues to be rolled out, that all of us remain hyper-vigilant in how we’re going about our daily lives.

“The data suggests that the number of new cases having fallen throughout January and February are now plateauing rather than continuing to decline significantly.”

Meanwhile, Scotland’s vaccine rollout has been “better than we could have dared hope for”, Sturgeon said.

As of Tuesday morning, almost 2.5 million people had received their first dose of the vaccine, while almost 340,000 people have been given a second dose.

Addressing the coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh on Tuesday, the first minister said: “These figures confirm the very good progress in the last three months.

“The progress in the vaccination programme is, if anything, better than we could have dared hope for back at the turn of the year.”