Nicola Sturgeon announces further easing of lockdown measures in Scotland

18 June 2020, 13:01

By Fraser Knight

Scotland’s First Minister has announced the country will move to Phase Two of lifting lockdown from tomorrow – but beer gardens are not included in the plans.

Nicola Sturgeon announced changes from tomorrow will see people from three separate households being allowed to meet up outdoors, in groups of up to eight - and couples who don’t live together will be allowed to form an ‘extended household group’.

People who live on their own or only with young children will be able to pair up with one other household where they can meet indoors without social distancing and stay overnight.

If anyone in the group contracts the virus, the whole group will need to self-isolate.

The First Minister said: “It will from tomorrow allow a grandparent who lives on their own to form a group with another household with their family.

Nicola Sturgeon announced the measures today
Nicola Sturgeon announced the measures today. Picture: PA

“It will, I hope, help to ease some of the isolation which is one of the cruellest consequences of tackling this virus.”

The hospitality industry in Scotland was preparing to be told it would be allowed to open beer gardens and outdoor dining as part of Phase Two, but Nicola Sturgeon today said she needs more advice around that first.

She said: “There is emerging evidence that places like pubs, restaurants and gyms can be hotspots for transmission so it’s really important we better understand this evidence and what further mitigation might be necessary to protect people in such spaces before we permit them to reopen.”

The First Minister also announced:

- Face coverings will become mandatory on all public transport from Monday and said professional sport can resume, behind closed doors.

- All retail outlets will be allowed to welcome customers back – so long as they have street access and are not in a shopping centre – on Monday 29 June.

- Zoos and outdoor parks will also be allowed to reopen on 29 June, while restrictions on moving house will also be dropped and weddings allowed to go ahead – only if they are outdoors and with "limited numbers".

Nicola Sturgeon says the Scottish Government will continue to take a cautious approach to lifting lockdown, saying the phased approach of implementing the moves will ‘avoid bearing all the risk at the same time’.

In the Scottish Parliament, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Jackson Carlaw said the Scottish Government does not understand the depth of the economic crisis the country is facing and ‘Scotland needs to get back to work.’

But the First Minister said the virus ‘has not gone away’ and that ‘if we don’t want to go backwards, we must progress carefully.’

It was also confirmed that those who are in the shielding category will be able to go outside for exercise from Friday, as well as be able to meet people from one other household, as was the case for the general public in phase one, maintaining social distancing measures .

From Monday, the First Minister said, the Scottish construction sector will move to the next phase of its restart plan, dentists will be able to open, professional sport can resume and places of worship will be able to reopen - although only for individual prayer and not for communal services.