Scotland lockdown: what the incoming ‘Stay Local’ Covid rules mean
The “stay at home” order in Scotland will be lifted on Friday, Apr 2 and replaced with a request for people to “stay local”, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
The First Minister added that barbers and hairdressers will be able to reopen from Apr 5 along with click-and-collect retail services, garden centres, car dealerships and homeware stores. University and college students can also return for in-person teaching and outdoor contact sports for 12-17-year olds may resume.
“The stay at home rule is being replaced for the next three weeks at least with a requirement to stay local,” Ms Sturgeon confirmed during a coronavirus briefing on Mar 30.
“I fully understand how frustrating that is for everybody – I share that frustration – like many of you, my family live in a different local authority to the one I live in, and so like anyone with loved ones in a different part of the country, I desperately want to see them in person.”
Ms Sturgeon said she will give further updates in April but that Scotland is on course to ease restrictions further on Apr 26, when pubs will be able to stay open outdoors until 10pm but indoors only until 8pm. However, alcohol will only be served outside.
Gyms will be also allowed to reopen on this date, and outdoor socialising between six people from three households will be permitted. Travel within all of mainland Scotland will be allowed and self-catering accommodation can open their doors from this date.
The First Minister told MSPs that the vaccination programme will have reached those most at risk of dying from Covid-19, which “will give us confidence to ease restrictions much more significantly from April 26”, with the aim to move to Level 1 of restrictions by the beginning of June.
Primary students returned to the classroom full-time on Mar 15, with those in secondary having a mix of online and face-to-face lessons.
Outdoor non-contact sport and organised group exercise is now permitted for all adults, in groups of up to 15 people.
Communal worship has also been allowed to resume as of Mar 26, with 50 people initially being allowed into services.
The ban on church services during lockdown in Scotland was found to be unconstitutional and a breach of human rights, a court ruled on Mar 24. The judgement comes just two days before places of worship were due to reopen.
Following the judgement, Lord Braid stated that churches in Scotland could instead open with “immediate effect”, emphasising that this was not a ruling that coming together for worship was safe. The decision marks the first legal victory against Covid laws in the UK.
Ms Sturgeon has said that the country is “heading in the right direction, but we cannot afford to take our foot of the brake too soon”, but went on to state that the Scottish Government “will not hesitate” to ease restrictions earlier if data supports it.
Mainland Scotland was placed into lockdown on Jan 4 to tackle the rising spread of the new coronavirus strain. The measures include a legally-enforceable stay-at-home order.
New guidance for those shielding has also been introduced. If you are shielding but cannot work from home, do not go to work – the Chief Medical Officer will write to all that this applies to which will act as a doctors note.
How many vaccinations have taken place in Scotland?
As of Mar 30, 2,436,398 people have received the first dose of the Covid vaccination and 338,443 have received their second dose after the rollout began on Jan 16.
Ms Sturgeon said that “almost half” of the adult population in Scotland had been vaccinated as of Mar 23, and, like England, Scotland will vaccinate all those in the JCVI’s priority groups first.
The Scottish Government will now start to invite people in priority lists eight and nine, which includes those aged between 50 and 59 years old, to receive their first dose.
It comes as Scotland will have around 500,000 fewer vaccine doses in April, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed. Ms Sturgeon said this means second doses may have to be prioritised at times in April.
However, the First Minister stressed the programme was continuing according to schedule, as she confirmed that all adults in Scotland should be offered a first dose of the Covid vaccine by the end of July.
It follows the Government meeting its initial target of offering the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine to everyone in the top four priority groups on Feb 15.
Can I travel to Scotland?
As of Feb 23, Scottish regulations mean that you must not travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK without a reasonable excuse such as for work, education or essential shopping. This does not include leisure trips.
Other exceptions include travel for healthcare, childcare or shared parenting, and a full list can be found on the Scottish Government website.
International travel is also banned, except for work purposes, and travel restrictions in Scotland will remain for “some time yet”, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.
The crackdown – enforced by on-the-spot fines and the threat of criminal action – came as holiday destinations including Cyprus, Seychelles, Greece and the Spanish islands rushed to open to vaccinated Britons.
Like the Government in Westminster, the Scottish Government has introduced an across-the-board hotel quarantine system for all international arrivals.
All international travellers will be required to self-isolate for 10 days in a hotel near Edinburgh, Glasgow or Aberdeen airport.
The First Minister’s roadmap out of lockdown also confirms that domestic breaks will not return in time for the April bank holiday.
Stay-at-home rules were lifted in England on Mr 29, however, at this stage people are still encouraged to minimise travel.