First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a further easing of the country’s lockdown rules today as Scotland moves into phase two.
The country began its four-phase plan for ending lockdown on May 28 when some lockdown restrictions were eased, with emotional, if socially-distanced, reunions taking place between families and friends.
Addressing the Scottish Parliament, the First Minister said recent figures show the “clear” progress that has been made to date and she was therefore “very pleased” to confirm the country can move into phase two.
She said allowing “frustration” to lead to a premature easing of lockdown remained the country’s “biggest risk right now”, in announcing Scotland’s next steps.
It had initially been expected from the government’s road map, published in May, that pubs and restaurants might have been able to open up outdoor spaces.
However, this remains under review at present, with a review date of July 2, after the First Minister said there is “emerging evidence” to suggest pubs, restaurants and gyms can be “hotspots” for transmission.
However, there was some good news for those in the shielded category, who can now meet with one household outdoors, and single people, who can form an ‘extended household’ with one other household to meet indoors and without physical restrictions.
Phase 2: What are the new rules?
Here’s what the government framework outlines will change as we move from phase one to phase two. Most restrictions will be relaxed from Friday, unless stated otherwise.
Seeing families and friends
- People who are not shielding can now meet with more households outside. The limit has increased from meeting one household to meeting two. However, this must still be in a group of eight or less and the need for physical distancing remains.
- People who are not shielding can use toilets indoors while visiting the outdoors of another household but must avoid touching surfaces.
- People who are shielding are able to meet with one other household outdoors (a maximum of eight people in total) with physical distancing. They can also take part in non-contact outdoor activities such as golf, hiking and fishing.
- Anyone who lives on their own or with children under 18 can form an ‘extended household group’ with only one other household. This group can meet indoors without physical distancing and stay overnight. No member of this extended household group can form any arrangement with any other household or with anyone shielding. They must continue to see any other households outdoors only and with physical distancing.
Shopping, eating and drinking out
- Street-access retail can reopen from June 29, once guidance is implemented but shops inside centres must remain closed until phase three.
- Pubs and restaurants are not permitted to open outdoor areas at the moment but the government has said it will review the scientific guidance on how these venues can reopen safely, with a review point on July 2.
- Outdoor markets can reopen with physical distancing measures and controls on numbers from June 29.
Working or running a business
- Home working remains the default position for those who can.
- Indoor (non-office) workplaces can resume from June 29 once relevant guidance is implemented, including factories, warehouses, labs and research facilities. However, this excludes indoor workplaces due to open in phase three such as non-essential offices and call centres.
- Construction sector allowed to kick-start the remaining phases of its “phased return” from Monday.
- Accommodation can be provided for those required to stay away from home for work purposes from Monday.
- Relaxation on restrictions on housing moves from June 29. Travel to a second home for essential maintenance would be possible.
Sport, culture and leisure
- Reopening of playgrounds and outdoor sports courts from June 29.
- Professional sport can resume from Monday – with public health restrictions remaining in place.
- From June 29 zoos and garden attractions can open for local access only (broadly within five miles) in this phase.
- People should continue to stay in their local area as much as possible and should not travel more than around five miles for leisure or recreation.
- Public transport to increase services over this phase, included increased ferry services and capacity.
- Businesses and organisations encouraged to manage travel demand through staggered start times and flexible working patterns.
- Public transport capacity will remain constrained due to physical distancing requirements – and active travel remains the preferred mode of travel.
- International border health measures in place.
- Face coverings will become mandatory on public transport from Monday.
Health and social care
- Increasing health care provision for pent-up demand, urgent referrals and triage of routine services from June 29.
- Dental practices can reopen to see patients with urgent care needs from Monday.
- Consideration to be given to a phased resumption of visiting care homes starting with outdoor visiting where it is clinically safe to do so.
- Priority referrals to secondary care begin from June 29.
- Continued phased resumption of any suspended or postponed GP services supported by digital consultation from June 22.
- Phased resumption of some screening services.
- Community optometry practices reopen for face-to-face emergency and essential eye care.
- Reintroducing some chronic disease management from June 22.
Gatherings and occasions
- Places of worship open for individual prayer or contemplation from Monday.
- Marriages, civil partnerships and other types of ceremonies to take place with minimal number of attendees and outdoors only from June 29.
- Registration offices to open for high-priority tasks from June 29.
When could we move into phase three?
The next review date is on July 9 and there will also be an update on remaining phase two actions, including reopening outdoor areas at pubs and restaurants, on July 2.
To progress from phase two to phase three, the World Health Organisation’s six criteria must continue to be met, as was the case for moving into phase two.
In addition, the R-number would need to be consistently below one and there must be a further sustained decline in infectious cases.
Hotels, pubs, restaurants and visitor attractions are preparing to open their doors again from next month, after Rural Economy and Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing set a target of July 15 for the lifting of restrictions.