FM ‘hopeful’ of move to phase two out of lockdown next week

The shift could see indoor meetings allowed between two households and the reopening of beer gardens.

Nicola Sturgeon says she is optimistic the country can start to move to “phase two” of its route map out of lockdown when the policy is reviewed in ten days’ time.

The First Minister said she hoped Scotland could shift at least in part to the next phase of the plan from June 18, next Thursday, but warned the pandemic is at a “critical juncture”.

Phase two of the route map is the stage at which meetings indoors with one other household will be permitted, as well as meeting with people from multiple households outside.

Small non-essential retail shops should be allowed to reopen, as well as beer gardens and the outdoor areas of restaurants and cafes.

Indoor non-office based work like in warehouses and factories is expected to resume, as well as professional sport.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s press briefing on Monday, Sturgeon stated the virus “is in retreat but not gone” as Scotland recorded its second consecutive day of no new Covid-19 deaths.

Moving out of lockdown too quickly could see coronavirus “roar back with a vengeance” in the form of a second wave, the FM said.

She said she is “hopeful” that if the suppression of the virus continues in the same way that it has in recent days, next week’s formal lockdown review will see Scotland move to the second phase of its recovery.

The First Minister also said that as of June 18, those who are shielding due to a pre-existing health condition will be able to leave their home for daily exercise unless they live in care homes.

However, beyond that change, measures for shielded groups will stay in place until July 31 and they will not be able to take part in sports or meet those from other households in the way other Scots can.

To those who are shielding, she said: “There are no words that will ever adequately express the sorrow that I feel for all that you have gone through, or indeed the gratitude that I feel for the way that you have borne it.”

The First Minister added: “These painful but necessary sacrifices have brought us to where we are today – with this virus in retreat.”

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