Scotland to lift stay at home order from April 2

16 March 2021, 14:36 | Updated: 17 March 2021, 07:32

Nicola Sturgeon has set out how Scotland will ease out of lockdown
Nicola Sturgeon has set out how Scotland will ease out of lockdown. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Scotland will lift its "stay at home" order from April 2 and replace it with guidance to "stay local", Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister has set out what the relaxation of lockdown will look like in Scotland after both England and Wales announced dates for the stay at home order to be lifted.

Ms Sturgeon told MSPs she hoped the "stay local" order would be in place for less than three weeks.

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She announced that click-and-collect retail services, along with garden centres, car dealerships, homeware stores and barbers and hairdressers, will be able to reopen from April 5.

More students, particularly those in college, will be able to go back to in-person teaching from this date.

Scotland will then move out of lockdown and into a "modified Level 3" on April 26.

Ms Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament the vaccination programme will have reached those most at risk from Covd-19 by that date, which "will give us confidence to ease restrictions much more significantly".

On the same date, travel restrictions across the country will be dropped.

"We hope that restrictions on journeys between Scotland and other parts of the UK and the wider common travel area can also be lifted, if not on April 26, then as soon as possible thereafter," the First Minister said.

Also from April 26, retail and hospitality will be able to reopen.

Ms Sturgeon said she hoped to allow all non-essential retail to return, with hospitality premises allowed to serve alcohol outdoors and food only indoors.

Further easing of outdoor socialising restrictions will happen on that date, with six people from three households being allowed to meet, and with those aged between 12 and 17 able to meet with six others from six households.

Attendance at funerals, weddings and associated events will also increase to a maximum of 50.

Scotland is expected to move from Level 3 to Level 2 on May 17.

Ms Sturgeon said while changes at the end of April will need to be monitored, indoor hospitality will return to a greater degree of normality with alcohol able to be served indoors.

"The precise detail of any continued restrictions will depend on an assessment of the situation closer to the time,” she said.

Indoor socialising is also expected to return on May 17, with plans announced to allow four people from two households to meet, while there will also be a further relaxation on outdoor mixing.

Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government plans to move Scotland into Level 1 in early June, before shifting to Level 0 by the end of the month.

She said she hopes vaccination and Test and Protect would lead Scotland closer to normality, but added that she could not say when restrictions would be fully lifted.

"For me to set a precise date for all of that right now would involve plucking it out of thin air - and I'd be doing it to make my life easier, not yours," she said.

She said she believed it would be possible to set a firmer date in the coming weeks, and that she was "optimistic that this date will be over the summer".

"I know I will not be the only one now looking forward - with a real sense of hope - to hugging my family this summer," she said.

However she added "a note of caution", despite "being the most hopeful I have felt about the situation for a long time".

"I know this is the bit none of us want to hear, but the route back to normality does depend on continued suppression," she said.

"We must continue to suppress it to the lowest level possible."