The First Minister has set out a “route map” to move Scotland safely out of lockdown in four “careful” phases, with phase one beginning next week.
The all-important R number has been below one for the last three weeks, allowing the first restrictions to be lifted from the 28th of May, the First Minister said while addressing the Scottish Parliament on Thursday.
The “likely changes” include meeting up with another household in parks, playing outdoor sports, sunbathing, travelling for recreational purposes and garden centres reopening.
Full details on each phase of the route map have been published on the Scottish Government’s website.
She gave a “word of caution”, stressing that these measures are “not in place yet” and not every phase one measure will be introduced next Thursday – some restrictions may be lifted after that and it is possible that some may be postponed.
The First Minister said: “Today we are setting out the phases in which we will aim to ease lockdown and reduce the impact on all of us – individuals, families, communities and businesses.
“The steps we will take are by necessity gradual and incremental – and they must also be matched with rigorous, ongoing monitoring of the virus.
“There is no completely risk-free way of lifting lockdown. But we must mitigate the risks as much as we can and we must not at any stage act rashly or recklessly.”
The changes in phase one refer mostly to increased outdoor activity, and include:
- People will be able to sit and sunbathe in parks and meet up with one other household, outside, observing social distancing. Inside meet-ups will not be permitted in phase one.
- Non-contact outdoor leisure activities, such as golf, tennis and fishing, will be allowed.
- Travelling for outdoor recreation is allowed, but it is recommended people stay close to their local area.
- Waste and recycling services can resume along with agricultural, forestry and construction services.
- Businesses which may reopen in phase two will be able to prepare for staff returning during phase one.
- Takeaway and drive through food outlets will be allowed to operate.
- Garden centres will reopen.
- A gradual restart of NHS services and the criminal justice system.
- Non-essential shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants remain closed.
The First Minister said these are “suitably cautious” first steps to take to ease Scotland out of lockdown.
She said: “I hope they will bring some improvement to people’s wellbeing and quality of life, start to get our economy moving again, and start to steer us safely towards a new normality.
“It’s important to stress, though, that while the permitted reasons to be out of your house will increase, the default message during phase one will remain ‘Stay at Home’ as much as possible.”
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