The First Minister is expected to reveal what life beyond level zero will look like in Scotland, ahead of the planned lifting of most restrictions on August 9.
Nicola Sturgeon will address Parliament on Tuesday afternoon to set out the Scottish Government’s plans for the coming weeks and months.
It is expected that all restrictions will be lifted next week, however it remains unclear if venues such as nightclubs will be allowed to reopen under the new rules.
The need for physical distancing both indoors and outdoors may be removed, however face coverings are likely to remain mandatory in some settings, such as in shops and on public transport.
The news comes as double vaccinated travellers from the US and EU were able to travel to Scotland without the need to quarantine from Monday.
Subject to countries remaining on the amber travel list, travellers will no longer have to self-isolate for ten days upon arrival in Scotland.
However people who have been in France in the ten days prior to their arrival will still have to self-isolate due to concerns over the Beta variant.
On July 19, the whole of Scotland moved to level zero coronavirus restrictions, which saw up to eight people from four households able to enter homes and stay overnight and up to ten people from four households able to meet in an indoor public place such as a bar or restaurant.
Fifteen people from 15 households are currently able to meet outside in a public place and up to 200 people are allowed to attend weddings and funerals.
‘We are at a crucial moment in our exit from restrictions and while there is light at the end of the tunnel, we must make sure we take all the action necessary to jump start Scotland’s recovery.’Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour leader
Ahead of the First Minister’s announcement, political leaders in Scotland called for changes to self-isolation rules including clarity on issues affecting students returning to university and school and support for the NHS.
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: “We are at a crucial moment in our exit from restrictions and while there is light at the end of the tunnel we must make sure we take all the action necessary to jump start Scotland’s recovery.
“We need to ensure that people are kept safe and that businesses are helped to restart the economy.
“Perhaps most importantly, we urgently need a plan for our NHS and care systems to ensure that workers feel supported, services are invested in and the backlog of appointments is cleared.
“Nowhere is that more urgent than in our cancer diagnostic services.
“The last few weeks have underlined the need for an overhaul of the struggling Test and Protect system. A functioning and effective test and trace system is vital for public safety.
“And for those who have been fully vaccinated, we must see changes on the requirement to self-isolate while still keeping communities safe
“We also need to see far greater support for Scotland’s struggling businesses, particularly as many will be having to deal with continued restrictions for some time to come.
“We have to learn to live with the virus, but to do so in such a way that the people of Scotland, our NHS and our economy are supported and protected.”
‘Businesses can’t afford any more last-minute, snap decisions that hit their cash flow and potentially results in job losses.’Douglas Ross, Scottish Conservative leader
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has called for the removal of the “blanket requirement to self isolate for ten days” for those who have been double vaccinated.
He said: “We should move to a test-first system that lets people get on with their lives safely.
“We especially want to see changes to self-isolation rules for school pupils. We also believe there is a strong case for dropping the requirement for face masks in schools. Learning has already been disrupted enough and a return to normality for children must be a top priority.
“There should be no rowing back on the planned easing of restrictions. Businesses can’t afford any more last-minute, snap decisions that hit their cash flow and potentially results in job losses. They need certainty and a more optimistic outlook, in light of the encouraging public health data.
“Social distancing rules that prevent many businesses from trading as normal should be removed. The economy must be reopened safely but we must also put a premium on protecting jobs and family finances. The SNP cannot hold businesses back from reopening.
“Scotland’s economic recovery hinges on the SNP Government moving beyond Covid restrictions. We must seize this opportunity to start rebuilding from the damage of Covid now and not delay any longer.”
Scottish Greens health spokesperson Gillian Mackay added that the Scottish Government should clarify what measures it will put in place to protect students, staff and local communities when the new university term begins.
She said: “The Scottish Government must ensure that there is no repeat of last year’s shambolic return to campus, when thousands of students were forced to self-isolate in student halls as the virus ran riot.
“With just a few weeks to go until the new term begins, international students deserve clarity about the process of entering the country and settling in on campus. Yet, ministers are unable to tell them how and where they’ll be required to isolate.
“Students must also have easy access to testing and vaccination on campus, and while many younger students won’t be fully vaccinated, it’s essential that guidance around mask wearing and distancing is clear. Support must also be made available for anyone who tests positive.
“It’s vital that the First Minister addresses these issues when she makes her statement to parliament on Tuesday, ensuring that students can be as prepared as possible for their arrival on campus.”
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