In a message of hope, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP announced the Scottish Government’s plans to safely and cautiously ease lockdown over the next few weeks, from the beginning of April.
As of Friday 02 April, the Scottish Government intends to lift the ‘Stay at Home’ requirement and replacing it with a ‘Stay Local’ message (retaining the current, local authority-based travel restrictions for at least a three-week period)
As of Monday 05 April the Scottish Government hopes to ease a wider range of current restrictions in level 4 areas (some of these activities/settings are already permitted/open in Level 3 island communities) including:
the resumption of outdoor contact sport for 12-17 year olds
return of college students within the top three priority groups identified by Colleges Scotland as most likely not to complete this academic year (estimated as 29% of learners)
reopening of non-essential ‘click and collect’ retail
extending the list of retail permitted to include hairdressers and barbers (not mobile and appointment only); garden centres; key cutting shops; mobility equipment shops; baby equipment shops; electrical repair shops; homeware shops; vehicle showrooms (appointment only) and forecourts
The prohibition of in-home socialising will continue to be kept under review at this date.
Assuming the data allow it, a more significant reopening of the economy and society will hopefully be possible from 26 April.
This is envisaged to include but not be limited to: allowing travel within all of mainland Scotland (subject to other restrictions that remain in place); reopening of libraries and community halls; resumption of driving lessons; allowing outdoor hospitality to open until 22:00 with alcohol permitted and indoor hospitality without alcohol and closing at 20:00.
Indoor mixing of households is unlikely to be allowed before 17 May.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“As North Ayrshire and Scotland emerge from a long and difficult winter, today’s announcement will be welcomed by many as it was extremely heartening.
“As we know, the situation with COVID-19 is changeable so we have to be mindful that we’re not out of the woods yet.
“However, thanks to the combination of a successful ongoing vaccination programme and people sticking to the necessary restrictions, we are now in a position where we have a real view of a sense of normality returning this spring and summer.”