Nicola Sturgeon confirms Scotland will further ease lockdown measures from Monday

Changes ‘hard earned’ and ‘long awaited’

Kate Devlin
Whitehall Editor
Tuesday 20 April 2021 16:18
UK Covid-19 vaccinations: Latest figures

Planned relaxations to lockdown measures in Scotland will go ahead from Monday, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

Beer gardens, cafes, shops and gyms will reopen from 26 April, Scotland’s first minister said.

However, hospitality venues will have to close at 8pm indoors and 10pm outdoors, and alcohol can only be served outside.

Travel between Scotland and other parts of the UK will also be permitted, while tourist accommodation can also welcome back visitors for the first time in months.

Ms Sturgeon described the moves as “hard earned” and “long awaited”.

But she urged continued caution, warning that more than 1,500 people in Scotland still tested positive for Covid-19 last week.

Other changes include that up to 50 people will be able to attend funerals and weddings, although alcohol will be prohibited.

Driving lessons and tests will also resume.

Updated guidance will be published telling venues to collect contact details from every customer, not just a single member of each group.

Nicola Sturgeon said this “additional precaution” was needed to help with contact tracing in the event of a Covid outbreak.

She also said that while people would be able to meet indoors in places such as cafes, it was not yet possible for them to meet others inside private homes.

“I know that can seem illogical, it can seem really difficult and unfair,” the SNP leader said.

But she said the risks of transmitting the virus could be higher in people’s homes, where it is harder to enforce physical distancing and provide high enough levels of ventilation. International travel for “non-essential purposes” is also still prohibited.

Ms Sturgeon said she knew this was “difficult” for industries such as tourism and aviation, as well as for those with family and friends overseas.

“We want to restore normality to international travel as quickly as possible,” she said.

“But we must be sensible as we do that, in light of the risks that we face and in light of the risks we see across many parts of the world.”

She added: “Until at least 17 May, and possibly for a period after that, you should not leave the UK for non-essential purposes.”

Ms Sturgeon said this was important to help “protect” the progress made in tackling coronavirus in the UK.

She told an official coronavirus briefing that two deaths from coronavirus and 178 positive tests have been recorded in Scotland in the past 24 hours.

She added that in Scotland 2,750,052 people had received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, up 2,358 from yesterday, and 797,267 had received their second dose.

Further easing of the restrictions is due to take place on 17 May and again on 7 June.

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