The first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, is giving the go-ahead for Scotland’s roadmap out of the Scotland.
This route map sets Scotland in level 2 restrictions from Monday, May 17, with island communities lowering down to level 1.
That means hospitality can continue to serve for longer hours and offer alcohol indoors, while also allowing venues such as cinemas to reopen.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The success of the vaccination programme, and continued high compliance with the various rules and restrictions, means that we have seen continued suppression of the virus in the last three weeks. As a result the situation overall is a very positive one, and we are now in a position to relax more restrictions and restore much more normality to our everyday lives.”
Under level 2 restrictions, greater freedoms are afforded to Scot’s with the number of people allowed to meet together notably increasing.
A spokesperson for the Scottish Government put it to bullet points:
- Up to six people from three households will be able to meet in each other’s homes or gardens without physical distancing – this was the limit previously planned for Level 1 but has now been accelerated for areas in Level 2. People will be encouraged to use their judgment about close physical contact with others
- Up to six people from three households will be able to meet indoors in places such as pubs, cafes and restaurants, while up to eight people from eight households will be able to meet outdoors
- Pubs and restaurants will be able to serve alcohol indoors until 10:30pm in two-hour booked slots
- Venues including cinemas, theatres, concert halls, music venues, comedy clubs, amusement arcades, casinos, snooker halls and bingo halls will be able to reopen
- Events will resume with a maximum capacity of 100 people indoors, 250 outdoors where there is unrestricted standing and 500 for events with seating. Organisers will be allowed to apply to hold bigger events
- Outdoor contact sports and indoor group exercise classes will be able to restart
- More than one person will be able to sing during religious services
- Amateur performing arts groups will be able to perform outdoors
- Colleges and universities will have more flexibility to resume in-person learning
Hugging is also one of the other restrictions set to be lifted as part of the route map out of Scotland’s lockdown.
The first minister highlighted the importance of physical connection as restrictions ease: “It is almost eight months since most of us have been able to meet in each other’s homes. While I know all of us have been looking forward to being able to do that again, I would encourage everyone to please use judgement – close physical contact still carries risk, so if you have loved ones who are vulnerable for any reason, you should still be careful. And you should perhaps limit the overall number of people that you choose to have close physical contact with.”
International travel is also set to resume under a new traffic light system, where green, amber and red indicate the quarantining consequence of travel.
Green list countries require no quarantining after returning back to Scotland but will need to take a PCR test upon arrival into Scotland.
Amber list countries require that Scot’s self-isolate for ten days in their own home and take two PCR tests during that time.
Red list countries require Scot’s ‘to enter a managed isolation hotel and stay there for 10 days.’
Green list countries include: Australia, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Iceland, New Zealand and more.
Nicola Sturgeon explained why she thinks this is important for protecting Scotland from future waves and variants: “We still intend to be highly cautious on international travel, given the risk of new variants, but we consider that the situation now allows us to begin a careful move away from blanket restrictions on non-essential travel. Everyone should think seriously about whether they really need to travel abroad this summer. I know for many people international travel is about family connections. But when it comes to holidays abroad, my advice continues to be to err on the side of caution and to staycation this summer.”