Nicola Sturgeon has urged Scots to remember that lockdown isn’t over as measures are eased for the first time.
Today the country took initial small steps out of lockdown, with outdoor meetings with people from another household and activities such as golf and tennis once again permitted.
Ahead of what is forecast to be a weekend of warm, sunny weather, the First Minister reiterated her calls to ensure that any meetings with other households adhere to social distancing guidelines, as well as ensuring that items such as cutlery and food are not shared and people do not enter homes that are not their own.
She also asked that people avoid crowds at parks and beauty spots across the country, urging people to go elsewhere if areas are busy.
Ms Sturgeon said the changes would improve the lives of Scots, but added that she was still “nervous” about the easing of measures.
She said: “I’m not trying to cramp anyone’s fun… but I am asking for you to do it responsibly.
“If you are in doubt about whether your plans are within the rules or not, err on the side of caution.
“However harsh these rules might feel right now, and I know that they do, abiding by them will never, ever be as harsh as grieving the loss of a loved one.”
Ms Sturgeon insisted that, while the country has made “significant progress” over recent weeks, the virus “has not gone away.”
She added: “Let me be very clear – you should still stay home as much as possible. Lockdown is not over. You should still be seeing far fewer people than you might normally do.
“Above all, remember that each individual decision we take, will affect the safety and wellbeing of everyone.
“Recent weeks have been tough – and tough times still lie ahead – but I have never been prouder of this country than I am right now. So let’s continue to stick together and do right by each other.
“So, I want to thank all of you in advance for doing that – and wish you all, within the rules of course, a happier and certainly a sunnier weekend than we’ve had in a while.”
A total of 2,331 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus, up by 15 from 2,316 on Wednesday.
Speaking at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon announced 15,327 people have tested positive for the virus across Scotland, a rise of 39 from 15,288 previous day.
There are 1,216 patients in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, a fall of 22 in 24 hours from 1,238.
Of these, 40 were in intensive care, an increase of three.