Scotland to move back into level system with stay-at-home order ending on 5 April

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Scotland’s route out of lockdown will come in stages, with the country’s stay-at-home order set to end on 5 April, followed weeks later by a return to a system of levels.

Unveiling the plan, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament that, at present, there is “limited scope” to ease restrictions.

But she said the Scottish government would be able to give more details in mid-March on how restrictions will be eased from the end of April onwards.

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Scotland’s youngest pupils this week returned to classrooms for the first time since the Christmas break, while from early next month families will be able to make regular indoor visits to loved ones in care homes.

And, under the plans she announced on Tuesday, Ms Sturgeon said – if “all goes according to plan” – that Scotland’s lockdown would continue to be eased in three stages over the next two months – with each stage separated by at least three weeks.

These are:

More from Covid-19

15 March

  • the rest of primary school years, as well as more secondary school pupils, will return to classrooms
  • the return of more university and college students for in-person learning
  • the resumption of non-contact outdoor team sports for 12-17-year-olds
  • a relaxing of the rules on outdoor mixing, with four people from two households allowed to meet.

5 April

  • the lifting of the “stay at home” order
  • six people from two households will be able to meet outdoors
  • the reopening of some shops through an expansion of the essential retailers list and a resumption of click-and-collect services
  • the restarting of communal worship (although this may come earlier to allow gatherings at Easter and for Passover).

26 April

  • Scotland will return to a levels system of restrictions, with a move down to Level 3 for most areas
  • this should allow a “phased but significant reopening of the economy, including non-essential retail, hospitality and services like gyms and hairdressers”, Ms Sturgeon said.
A bus decorated with a rainbow and NHS stickers passes a Coronavirus related advert on a billboard in Falkirk, Central Scotland, where lockdown measures introduced on January 5 for mainland Scotland remain in effect until at least the end of February. Picture date: Monday February 8, 2021.
Image:
Scotland’s ‘stay at home’ order is set to end on 5 April

Looking ahead to the more significant easing of lockdown restrictions, the first minister told MSPs: “In mid-March… I hope we can set out then more detail of the further reopening that will take place over April and May and into a summer when we hope to be living with much greater freedoms than we are today.”

However, Ms Sturgeon warned that travel restrictions in Scotland will remain for “some time yet” as she stressed the importance of COVID cases, particularly of new variants, not being imported into the country.

She added: “It is important to stress, of course, that all of this depends on us continuing to suppress the virus now – and continuing to accept some trade-offs for a period, for example on international travel.

“However, if we do so, I am optimistic that we can make good progress in returning more normality to our lives and the economy.

“I know this is still a cautious approach which though absolutely essential to control the virus and protect health, is extremely difficult for many businesses.”

Ms Sturgeon’s lockdown easing plan does not go as far as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap for lifting national restrictions in England.

On Monday, Mr Johnson revealed his hope of removing all legal limits on social contact on 21 June.

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Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford last week extended lockdown in Wales for at least another three weeks and has said he will use the time to look at options for reopening shops and hairdressers.

Northern Ireland has also recently extended lockdown restrictions, although some measures will be eased from 8 March.

First Minister Arlene Foster has promised a full review of the main lockdown restrictions on 18 March.

Read More: Tue, 23 Feb 2021 14:03:00 +0000-Scotland to move back into level system with stay-at-home order ending on 5 April

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