News

More normality if progress continues

Published: 22 Jun 2021 16:06

Aim to lift all major restrictions on 9 August.

The whole of Scotland will move to Level 0 on 19 July if all necessary vaccination and harm reduction measures are met.

Current levels will remain in place for the next three weeks with a review taking place on 13 July although some changes, such as minor relaxations to rules on events such as weddings and funerals will come into place on 28 June.

During a statement to Parliament, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also confirmed that from 19 July physical distancing outdoors will be removed and physical distancing for indoor public areas will reduce to one metre if the data allows. Limits on outdoor gatherings will also be removed on this date given the reduced risk of outdoor transmission at this stage in the vaccination programme.

If the necessary conditions on vaccination and harm reduction continue to be met, all major remaining COVID restrictions will be lifted on 9 August.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“From 19 July, and then more substantially, from 9 August – assuming we are meeting our revised strategic aim of alleviating the harm of the virus – life should feel much less restricted for all of us.

“A very significant degree of normality will be restored – for individuals and for businesses. As I said earlier, these are indicative dates, but they allow us to plan ahead with more clarity. As always, we all have a part to play in keeping us on track.

“Up until now, the Scottish Government’s strategic intention has been to ‘suppress the virus to the lowest possible level and keep it there’. From now, our aim will be to ‘suppress the virus to a level consistent with alleviating its harms while we recover and rebuild for a better future’.

“This change reflects the fact that vaccination is reducing – we hope significantly – the harm that the virus causes.

“Physical distancing has been an important mitigation against the virus but it is also burdensome for individuals and costly for businesses. So as vaccinations bear more of the load of controlling the virus, we need to consider when and to what extent we can reduce the legal requirement for it.

“Ultimately we hope to remove the legal requirement for physical distancing – even though we may continue to advise people to think about safe distancing when interacting with people outside their close contact groups.”

Background

From 28 June  

  • suppliers and others employed at a wedding will no longer count towards the cap on attendance
  • A bride, groom and other designated persons accompanying them no longer require to wear face-coverings when walking down the aisle
  • live entertainment will be permitted at weddings
  • more than one household will be permitted to carry the coffin and/or take a cord at a funeral crematoriums and churches can relay funeral services to outside areas

From 19 July

  • celebrations of life events such as christenings, bar mitzvahs and anniversaries will be permitted to take place under similar guidelines as weddings and funerals
  • different households will be able to share a bedroom in tourist accommodation

Some measures are expected to continue beyond Level 0 including:

  • good hand hygiene and surface cleaning
  • continued promotion of good ventilation
  • a requirement for face coverings in certain settings (e.g. public transport and retail)
  • continued compliance with Test and Protect, including self-isolation when necessary
  • an ongoing need for outbreak management capability, including active surveillance
  • a greater degree of working from home than pre COVID-19 where this is possible and appropriate based on business and employee choice

The next review of restrictions will be on 13 July ahead of proposed changes commencing on 19 July.

The Physical Distancing review and updated strategic framework have been published.