At-a-glance: How Scotland plans to ease out of lockdown

Scotland will return to a regional levels system from the last week of April if virus suppression continues.

Scotland will return to a regional levels system from the last week in April if virus suppression continues, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

There will be a gradual easing within level four areas from now until April 26, with a minimum three week gap between each relaxation of restrictions.

Sturgeon said the Scottish Government hopes to remove the stay at home requirement by April 5 and then, at least three weeks later, the country will return to geographically variable levels.

Mainland Scotland and some islands have been under level four restrictions – carrying stay at home guidance – since January 5.

Orkney, Shetland and islands in the Highland and Argyll and Bute local authority areas – with the exception of Skye – are currently under level three restrictions.

The First Minister told MSPs the five-level system, separated by council areas, will return and she hopes those in level four will be able to drop down to level three, which would see sectors such as non-essential retail reopen.

The Scottish Government’s framework on the planned easing of restrictions is available here and the indicative dates can be viewed at a glance below.

All of the indicative dates are subject to change in accordance with the prevalence of the virus and the progress of the vaccination programme.


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SCHOOLS: Primaries one, two and three returned to class full-time on Monday. Nursery children also went back on that date, along with some senior pupils facing assessments in S4-S6 on a part-time basis.

CARE HOMES: Regular visiting will resume in Scottish care homes from early March, with residents allowed to have two designated visitors each. Each designated visitor will be able to see their relative once a week.

SOCIALISING: Rules eased from Friday, March 12 to allow outdoor meetings of four people from two households.

SPORT: Non-contact outdoor group sports for 12-17-year-olds – in groups of up to 15 – were also permitted to resume from March 12.


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SCHOOLS: Second phase of schools reopening will begin from Monday, March 15. Discussion is ongoing but this phase is expected to include the remaining primary school years (P4-P7) and more secondary school pupils on a part-time ‘blended learning’ basis.

UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES: Phased return of a further small number of priority students for in-person learning.

COMMUNAL WORSHIP: Places of worship will reopen with numbers restricted to 50 – up from the previously proposed limit of 20 – from Friday, March 26, providing two-metre physical distancing can be accommodated.



STAY AT HOME: The stay at home restriction is scheduled to be lifted on April 5 (Easter Monday).

SCHOOLS: Third and final phase of schools reopening, which will see all pupils back in the classroom if they haven’t already returned. Easter holidays start around early April and the exact dates vary by local authority.

SOCIALISING: A further extension to outdoor mixing with six people from two households allowed to meet together.

RETAIL: Essential retailers list expanded and click-and-collect services resume for non-essential retail.


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ECONOMY: The reopening of Scotland’s economy – including non-essential shops, bars, restaurants, gyms and hairdressers – will get underway from Monday, April 26.

LEVELS – All of mainland Scotland and island areas in level four scheduled to move down to level three. The First Minister said the five-level system may not be exactly the same as the framework that was in place last year – those restrictions can be viewed here.

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