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Nicola Sturgeon confirms Scotland to drop most legal Covid restrictions
3 August 2021, 14:02 | Updated: 3 August 2021, 14:35
Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that Scotland's coronavirus restrictions will ease again from Monday, moving beyond its current 'Level 0' restrictions.
Scotland's government has been cautious despite England's 'Freedom Day' taking place on July 19.
Restrictions on how many people could meet in groups remained in Scotland's 'Level 0' while south of the border almost all legal limits were dropped.
Despite her announcement that restrictions would ease, Ms Sturgeon added that "mitigations" are part of her plan - including a legal requirement to keep wearing face masks.
"The move beyond Level 0 will entail the lifting of most of the remaining legally imposed restrictions, most notably on physical distancing and limits to the size of social gatherings," Ms Sturgeon said in a statement to a remote session of the Scottish Parliament.
"It also means that from 9 August no venues will legally required to close.
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"This change is significant and it is hard earned.
"The sacrifices everyone has made over the past year and a half can never be overstated."
But she warned: "It is important to be clear that it does not signal the end of the pandemic or a return to life exactly before we knew it before Covid struck. Declaring freedom from or victory over this virus is in my view premature."
Face coverings will still be legally required indoors, with exemptions, but this will be under review, the First Minister confirmed.
However, she said she expected it to remain in law "for some time to come".
Indoor hospitality will also need to keep collecting customers' contact details, too.
The move continues to reveal differences in the approach between England and Scotland. In England, most laws, including those around face coverings, have gone.
Government advice has still recommended wearing them in certain situations - but while Ms Sturgeon has kept the requirement in law, Boris Johnson has told people in England to use common sense and exercise personal responsibility.