The First Minister has set out a timetable for the re-opening of parts of society over the next two months.
Stay at Home regulations will be lifted on 2 April and replaced with guidance to Stay Local, with more services including hairdressers, garden centres and non-essential click and collect services able to open from 5 April.
More college students will also return to on-campus learning and outdoor contact sports will resume for 12-17 year olds on 5 April if progress on vaccination and suppression of Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues.
The Scottish Government then hopes to lift all restrictions on journeys in mainland Scotland on 26 April. Discussions will be held with island communities already in lower levels on the possibility of having a faster return to more socialising and hospitality with restrictions on mainland travel to protect against importation of the virus.
Vaccination of all nine JCVI priority groups – more than half of the population, accounting for 99% of COVID-related fatalities – is expected to be completed by mid-April, supplies allowing. The dates outlined are enabled by strong new evidence that suggests vaccines reduce the chances of transmitting the virus as well as reducing serious illness and death, even after a first dose.
Further expected easing on 26 April includes:
- all retail premises, libraries, museums and galleries, tourist accommodation would be able to open
- the hospitality sector would be able to reopen outdoors for the service of alcohol, and potentially open indoors for non-alcohol service
- up to four people from two households could be able to socialise indoors in a public place such as a café or restaurant
- six people from up to three households could be able to meet outdoors and the limit on wedding and funeral attendance could be raised to 50 people
- gyms and swimming pools would be open for individual exercise and non-essential childcare would be permitted
- non-essential work in peoples’ homes and driving lessons could resume from this date
On 17 May, it is hoped that groups of four people from two households would be able to socialise indoors in a private home, and that cinemas, amusement arcades and small scale outdoor and indoor events could restart with limits on capacity. Further easing on this date would include outdoor contact sport for adults and indoor group exercise
The First Minister also indicated that in early June it is hoped that Scotland could move to Level 1 and by end of June to level 0.