From Friday, travel within the Scottish mainland will be permitted between council areas.
This acceleration in the rules means that people in Highland Perthshire can now receive visitors in tourist towns, such as Dunkeld and Pitlochry, and also visit other areas on the mainland.
Announcing the rules, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “So from the end of this week, you will be able to meet up with family and friends who live in different parts of the country. Many of those reunions will be long-awaited, and much anticipated. Please do remember that meetings at this stage must still be outdoors – you cannot socialise in people’s homes – and remember due to physical distancing, public transport capacity remains relatively limited.
“COVID is in retreat in Scotland but it hasn’t gone away – it will come back if we allow it. So we must still exercise care and caution, continue to stick to the rules that are in place, work from home if you can and when you do leave the house, remember FACTS.”
As well as being able to visit other local authorities, outdoor recreation is also permitted.
From Friday, six adults from six households will be allowed to socialise outside while under twelves won’t contribute to the total number of people meeting.
One local, Gail, reacted to the news, saying: “That is tremendous, it means we’re now not stuck in one particular place; and we can go and see friends and relatives and shopping that we need to do. It’s great.”
However, indoor socialising is not permitted. A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “People must continue to Stay Local for other purposes such as non-essential shopping, and public transport capacity will continue to be limited.”
Fellow local, Ian, added: “It’s pleasing for everyone that we can travel freely but we must be cautious, and we must always consider that we’re keeping our space.
“Pitlochry is a gorgeous town to come to, a lot of people visited in the summer of last year, of which we truly welcomed.
“So yes, as far as I’m concerned it’s good news. But again, be cautious.”
Nicola Sturgeon added: “More generally, we currently expect the whole country to move to at least Level 2 on 17 May, to Level 1 in early June, and to Level 0 in late June.
“Reaching Level 0 is not the extent of our ambitions, and later on in the summer as the number of people who have been vaccinated increases further we hope that a level of normality well beyond Level 0 will become possible.
“We have always said we will keep plans under review and accelerate the lifting of restrictions if possible. The improved data does not allow us to throw caution to the wind – not if we are sensible – but it does give us a bit of limited headroom.”