Lockdown: Households will be allowed to meet outdoors

You will be allowed to meet members of another household but will have to observe physical distancing.

Two households will be allowed to meet outdoors as part of plans to start easing the lockdown from the end of next week.

Currently, you are only allowed to socialise with members of your own household, but the First Minister indicated a change would be made within days of May 28 – the next formal review of the Covid-19 restrictions.

However, you will still have to observe physical distancing from the members of the other household, keeping a distance of two metres apart.

And the guidance advises staying in your local area and travelling no more than five miles, preferably not in a car.

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She announced that the Scottish Government would lift some restrictions in a “gradual and incremental” way, entering phase one of a “route map” out of lockdown next Thursday.

More outdoor activity will be allowed, letting people sit in parks and sunbathe.

Golf, tennis, bowls, fishing and other non-contact outdoor activities will be able to resume, along with allowing people to travel a short distance to take part in recreation.

The construction industry will be allowed to resume along with waste and recycling services and some outdoor or rural businesses such as garden centres.

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Drive-through food and drink outlets will also be permitted to gradually reopen.

Any workplaces permitted to return in phase two will also be able to prepare for the return of staff during the first phase, Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament.

Among those, pubs and restaurants with outdoor spaces will be allowed to reopen those spaces in the second phase, although that may not be for several weeks or months.

Outlining the moves, Sturgeon said: “I hope they will bring some improvement to people’s wellbeing and quality of life, start to get our economy moving again, and start to steer us safely towards a new normality.

But she stressed: “While the permitted reasons to be out of your house will increase, the default message during phase one will remain ‘stay at home’ as much as possible.”

The First Minister said the route map published on Thursday is “high level” and that further advice will be made available over the coming days.

Sturgeon said: “The steps we will take are by necessity gradual and incremental – and they must also be matched with rigorous, ongoing monitoring of the virus.

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“There is no completely risk-free way of lifting lockdown, but we must mitigate the risks as much as we can and we must not at any stage act rashly or recklessly.”

The First Minister said the reproduction rate of Covid-19 in Scotland – the R number – had been under one for three weeks, adding: “In my judgement, the time is right to move towards a careful relaxation of lockdown restrictions.”

She said the two months of lockdown have been “absolutely necessary” to stem the spread of the virus, with an estimate of 25,000 Scots now believed to be infectious in Scotland.

But Sturgeon warned MSPs that lifting lockdown measures too quickly could cause coronavirus to “run out of control”, saying the threat of a second wave is “very real”.

She stressed that current hygiene measures such as washing your hands regularly and covering your coughs and sneezes should continue to be complied with, and would be the “biggest single factor in controlling the virus”.

Sturgeon said that the proposals set out in the route map “cannot be set in stone” and said any easing of restrictions could quickly be reversed, potentially with even stronger measures.

The FM added: “We will conduct formal reviews at least every three weeks to assess if and to what extent we can move from one phase to the next, but we will be constantly alive to when we can go faster, or whether we have gone too far.

“It may be that we can’t do everything in a particular phase at the same time. A single phase may span more than one review period. Some measures may be lifted earlier than planned, some later.”

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