Scotland lockdown measures relaxed on 17 May - all you need to know

17 May 2021, 05:26 | Updated: 17 May 2021, 14:45

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed which restrictions would be lifted in Scotland from Monday
Nicola Sturgeon confirmed which restrictions would be lifted in Scotland from Monday. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the lockdown restrictions that will be lifted in Scotland from 17 May, including the indoor reopening of pubs, resumption of international travel and return of hugging.

Speaking during the Scottish Government coronavirus press briefing last week, the first minister updated the nation on which measures will be lifted from next week.

Her announcement came as data revealed that, over the previous three weeks, case numbers dropped from an average of 226 per day to 177 per day.

It also follows the UK's four chief medical officers confirming last Monday that Britain's Covid-19 alert level should be lowered from level four to level three, meaning transmission of the virus is no longer "high" or "rising exponentially".

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Meanwhile, more than two-thirds of the UK adult population have now received a Covid jab, with more than 20 million of those receiving both doses.

However, an emotional Ms Sturgeon stressed it remains "vital to be cautious" as Scotland reopens and as some social distancing measures are relaxed.

So what did Nicola Sturgeon say in her Covid announcement? Which lockdown restrictions will be lifted in Scotland on 17 May? And which measures will remain in place?

Coronavirus update from the First Minister: 11 May 2021

Mainland Scotland and Scottish Islands

All of mainland Scotland, with the of Moray and Glasgow, will move from Level 3 to Level 2 of Covid-19 restrictions on 17 May.

Glasgow and Moray, in the north-east, will remain at Level 3 following a surge in infections and an increase in hospital admissions.

However, many of the nation's islands will move to Level 1 due to vaccination coverage and low case numbers. The Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland are included as are all islands in the Highland Council area except Skye. It also applies to islands in the Argyll and Bute council area.

People living in areas at Level 2 or below can move freely around the country and can travel to England, Wales and Northern Ireland. They can only enter a Level 3 area for a permitted reason.

What's happening in Glasgow and Moray?

Addressing the outbreaks in the two areas, Ms Sturgeon said case numbers in Moray are more than four times higher than in the rest of the country.

She previously said that "unless the situation was to materially improve over the next few days, it would simply not be safe or sensible to ease restrictions there from Monday".

As well as Moray remaining in Level 3, the first minister said the region is likely to have travel restrictions reimposed to ensure cases do not rise in other areas of the country.

"This will mean that travel in and out of Moray will be limited to permitted purposes only," she added.

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Indoor hospitality

In the rest of the mainland, six people from three households will be able to meet in hospitality venues such as pubs, bars and restaurants from 17 May.

Additionally, eight people from eight houses will be free to meet outdoors.

Hospitality venues will also be allowed to serve alcohol indoors from next week, while cinemas, bingo halls and amusement arcades will reopen.

Socialising and social distancing

From Monday, people in Scotland - except for Glasgow and Moray - will be able to hug loved ones again, Ms Sturgeon confirmed.

Six people from three households will be able to meet indoors and eight people from eight houses can meet outdoors.

The first minister also said social distancing during indoor meetings or in private gardens will be dropped.

"I actually feel a wee bit emotional saying this, from Monday, as long as you stay within permitted limits, you can hug your loved ones again," she said.

But she stressed it remains "vital to be cautious" and that dropping social distancing will be reviewed for all situations in the coming weeks. She also told Scots to be careful where a vulnerable person is involved.

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International travel

From 17 May, Scotland will move to a traffic light system for international travel, similar to that already announced for England.

Managed isolation will still be needed for countries on the "red list", while a 10-day period of self-isolation with two PCR tests will be needed for amber list countries.

Those arriving from green list countries will be required to take a test when they arrive, but will not need to self-isolate if they do not have the virus.

While green list status should be the "exception, not the rule", 12 countries and territories will be on the list from the start, including Iceland, the Faroe Islands, New Zealand and Australia.

However, she said Scots should "think seriously" about whether to take overseas holidays, adding: "When it comes to holidays abroad, my advice continues to be to err on the side of caution and to staycation this summer."

Education and care

All nurseries, childminders and schools are open in Level 2 areas, with informal childcare, such as family and friends, also permitted.

Meanwhile, there will be blended learning at colleges and universities.

Care home residents are recommended to receive a minimum of two indoors visits a week, but only one person at a time, while essential visits should be supported at all times.

Garden or window visits are also allowed and any visits additional to the above are at the discretion of individual care homes.

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Which measures will remain in place?

Soft play, funfairs, bowling alleys, snooker halls, nightclubs and adult entertainment must all remain closed in Level 2 areas.

Although most organised sporting activity is permitted, indoor adult contact sports are not.

Indoor events will be limited to 100 attendees and outdoor stadiums will be capped at 500 seated guests or 250 free-standing

Weddings and civil partnerships, receptions, funerals and wakes will limited to 50 people.