The stay-at-home order in Scotland will be removed on April 2 with lockdown easing by April 26, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.
From that date Scots will be advised instead to “stay local” for an initial period, which the First Minister said she hoped would be for less than three weeks.
From April 5, click-and-collect retail services, along with garden centres, car dealerships, homeware stores and barbers and hairdressers, will also be able to reopen.
More students, particularly those in college, will also be able to go back to in-person teaching, Ms Sturgeon said, with colleges prioritising those at risk of not completing courses for return first.
Scotland will move out of lockdown and into a “modified Level 3” on April 26 meaning hospitality services including pubs can open again.
Ms Sturgeon told MSPs that the vaccination programme will have reached those most at risk groups, which “will give us confidence to ease restrictions much more significantly from April 26”.
On the same date, travel restrictions across the country will be dropped.
The First Minister said: “We hope that restrictions on journeys between Scotland and other parts of the UK and the wider common travel area can also be lifted, if not on April 26, then as soon as possible thereafter.”
However, she also said non-essential international travel will not be achievable before 17 May, as efforts to protect against new variants continue.
- Cafés, restaurants and bars will be able to serve people outdoors – in groups of up to six from three households – until 10pm from 26 April.
- Alcohol will be permitted, and there will be no requirement for food to be served.
- There could be limited indoor opening of hospitality from 26 April too.
- This will be limited initially to the service of food and non-alcoholic drinks until 8pm, and for groups of up to four people from no more than 2 households.
- All remaining retail premises are expected to re-open on 26 April.
- All tourist accommodation will be able to re-open, subject to any restrictions.
- Libraries, museums and galleries will also reopen from 26 April.
- Indoor gyms will also reopen for individual exercise on that date.
Scotland is expected to move from Level 3 to Level 2 on May 17, Ms Sturgeon said. This means:
- Up to four people from two household can socialise indoors in a private home or public space from May 17.
- Hospitality venues can open until 10pm indoors (alcohol permitted, two-hour dwell time) and 10pm outdoors (alcohol permitted)
- Outdoor adult contact sport and indoor group exercise can restart.
- Cinemas, amusement arcades, and bingo halls can open.
- Small-scale outdoor and indoor events can resume subject to capacity constraints.
It is hoped most of Scotland will be in level 1 by early June which will mean:
- Up to six people from up to three households can socialise indoors in a home or public place
- Up to eight people from three households can socialise outdoors
Eight 12-17 year olds can meet socially from eight households outdoors
- Hospitality can remain open until 11pm
- Attendance at events can increase numbers subject to capacity constraints
Ms Sturgeon announced most of Scotland should then move to level 0 by the end of June.
The First Minister said she hoped that vaccination and Test and Protect would lead Scotland closer to normality, but added she could not say when restrictions would be fully lifted.
“For me to set a precise date for all of that right now would involve plucking it out of thin air – and I’d be doing it to make my life easier, not yours,” she said.
“I am not going to do that. But I do believe that over the coming weeks – as more and more adults are vaccinated – it will be possible to set a firmer date by which many of these normal things will be possible.
“I am optimistic that this date will be over the summer.
“I know I will not be the only one now looking forward – with a real sense of hope – to hugging my family this summer.”
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