Nicola Sturgeon confirms delay to easing of Covid lockdown restrictions

22 June 2021, 16:27

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that the easing of restrictions would be delayed until 19 July.
Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that the easing of restrictions would be delayed until 19 July. Picture: PA

By Emma Soteriou

Nicola Sturgeon has announced Scotland's lockdown easing will be delayed by three weeks to 19 July.

This comes after the country saw a rise in cases, with 2,167 recorded in the past 24 hours - the highest daily figure Scotland has seen since 8 January.

The original plan was for the country to move to Level 0 on 28 June.

The First Minister said: "Assuming we are meeting the revised strategic aim, we hope that all parts of Scotland, not currently in that level, can move to Level 0 on 19 July.

"That means, for example, that the limits for household gatherings indoors will increase from that date, and up to 200 people will be able to attend weddings and funerals.

"We also hope - assuming the data supports this - that the general indoor physical distancing requirement can be reduced from two metres to one metre.

"And we hope, from that date, to lift the outdoor requirement to physically distance.

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"In addition - in recognition of the reduced risk of outdoor transmission and therefore the desire to encourage people to stay outdoors as much as possible - we hope that limits on informal outdoor social gatherings, in private gardens for example, will also be removed at this stage."

The First Minister also revealed that, if the country met the right conditions, all restrictions could be lifted on 9 August.

Speaking to MSPs in Holyrood on Tuesday, she said: "Our assessment - on balance and assuming we meet the necessary conditions on vaccination and harm reduction - is that it would be possible and proportionate to lift the major remaining legal restrictions on 9 August.

"We will consider and make a final assessment nearer the time of whether - as we hope - this could include the lifting of the legal requirement to physically distance indoors as well as outdoors."

Ms Sturgeon added in her announcement that "the Scottish Government will not immediately recommend a return to office working when all restrictions are lifted".