Clive Bull 1am - 4am
Nicola Sturgeon to announce plans to lift coronavirus restrictions in Scotland
3 August 2021, 06:53
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is set to announce plans to lift coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday afternoon.
Ms Sturgeon is expected to reveal whether the easing of restrictions will go ahead on 9 August as planned.
The date was originally set in June prior to the country moving to Level 0, which saw increased numbers of people allowed to gather and extended opening hours for hospitality. However, places such as nightclubs remained closed.
If the changes are approved, stadiums and concert venues could return to full capacity for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.
It was previously suggested that all major restrictions would be relaxed on Monday as long as the over-40 age group is fully vaccinated, which the Scottish Government described as a "gateway condition".
That said, Ms Sturgeon has already confirmed that face coverings in shops and public transport will remain mandatory for "some time to come".
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said social distancing guidance should be changed as planned but called for amendments to the self-isolation rules.
"The success of Scotland and the UK's vaccine scheme overall means we can now look to move forward, cautiously but confidently, and remove almost all Covid restrictions," he said.
"The blanket requirement to self-isolate for 10 days should be amended for those who are double vaccinated, since the virus now poses far less risk to people with that level of protection.
"We should move to a test-first system that lets people get on with their lives safely.
"Scotland's economic recovery hinges on the SNP Government moving beyond Covid restrictions - we must seize this opportunity to start rebuilding from the damage of Covid now and not delay any longer."
Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour leader, said: "We are at a crucial moment in our exit from restrictions and while there is light at the end of the tunnel, we must make sure we take all the action necessary to jump start Scotland's recovery.
"We need to ensure that people are kept safe and that businesses are helped to restart the economy.
"Perhaps most importantly, we urgently need a plan for our NHS and care systems to ensure that workers feel supported, services are invested in and the backlog of appointments is cleared.
"We have to learn to live with the virus, but to do so in such a way that the people of Scotland, our NHS and our economy are supported and protected."