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All of the rule changes explained as Scotland moves beyond Level 0

Party-goers can return to nightclubs from August 9.
Party-goers can return to nightclubs from August 9.

From Monday August 9, Scotland will move “beyond Level 0”.

Over a year after rules were imposed, from today almost all remaining restrictions will be lifted.

The move was confirmed by First Minster Nicola Sturgeon on August 3 during a Holyrood briefing, which she said was a result of the “steady decline in cases” and “the success of vaccination”.

While all legal limits on social distancing have been removed – some protective measures will stay in place including the use of face coverings indoors and the collection of contact details as part of Test and Protect.

The only limitations on gatherings now stands at a capacity of 2000 people indoors and 5000 people outdoors – meaning large-scale events can go ahead.

These remaining restrictions will be reviewed by the government on a three weekly basis.

The end of social distancing

Legal requirements on social distancing have now been removed, as well as limitations on the amount of people able to attend gatherings – regardless of the amount of households.

It means venues across Scotland are able to reopen – including nightclubs – with pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues returning to normal licensing hours.

Isolation rules

Adults identified as close contacts of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 won’t have to isolate for 10 days, providing that:

  • They are double-vaccinated with at least two weeks passed since their second dose
  • They are showing no Covid-19 related symptoms
  • They can show a negative PCR test

Rules for school children

Anyone aged between five and 17 also won’t have to isolate even if they have not been vaccinated – as long as they are showing no symptoms of Covid-19 and can show a negative PCR test.

Those under five-years-old will be “encouraged” but not required to take a test.

School bubble isolation rules have also been scrapped by the government.

It means the blanket isolation of whole classes in schools will no longer happen.

However, the government say they will retain the majority of rules put in place in schools over the last term to “allow time to monitor the impacts of these changes”.

This is what we can expect in schools from August 9:

  • A one-metre social distancing rule for the time-being
  • Only high risk children will have to isolate as close contacts – most will be asked to self-isolate for a much shorter period of time
  • Face masks will have to be worn during lessons by secondary pupils
  • Secondary pupils and school staff will be asked to take lateral flow tests before they return and regular testing during the term

Can I travel?

Travel between Scotland and England is allowed.

Travel abroad will still be decided by a traffic light system with a review taking place every four weeks.

Self-isolation for those arriving in the UK from “amber list” countries ended on July 19 for double-vaccinated travellers who can show a negative PCR test of the second day of arrival.

Hotel quarantine is still required for “red list” countries.

Working from home

As of August 9, the Scottish government are still advising people to work from home.

Statement from the First Minister

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The move beyond level 0 will entail the lifting of most of the remaining legally imposed restrictions – most notably, on physical distancing and limits to the size of social gatherings.

“It also means that from 9 August, no venues will be legally required to close.

“This change is significant and it is hard-earned. The sacrifices everyone has made over the past year and a half can never be overstated.

“However, while this move will restore a substantial degree of normality, it is important to be clear that it does not signal the end of the pandemic or a return to life exactly as we knew it before Covid struck.

“Declaring freedom from, or victory over, this virus is in my view premature. The harm the virus can do, including through the impact of long Covid, should not be underestimated.

“And its ability to mutate may yet pose us real challenges.”

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