There will be a cap of 20 on the number of guests allowed at funeral services and wedding ceremonies, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
The First Minister gave the update as Scotland entered phase three of its plan out of lockdown, with restrictions to be eased on funerals, weddings and civil partnerships.
Previously, funerals could only take place with immediate family, and weddings only in “exceptional circumstances”.
But from Wednesday next week, all such services and ceremonies, including civil partnerships, can go ahead with a maximum of 20 people “at this stage”, the FM said.
The restriction only allowing immediate family at funerals will also be lifted.
For all ceremonies or services, the venue must be able to accommodate 20 people while retaining strict two-metre distancing.
If it cannot do so, it will have to offer reduced numbers.
Speaking at the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 briefing, Sturgeon stressed the 20-person limit only applied to ceremonies or services specifically, not to other events like wakes or receptions.
For those occasions, the general Covid rules should be followed, which – from today – permit just eight people, from up to three households, to meet indoors with social distancing in place.
Slightly higher numbers are permitted for outdoor meetings, with 15 people allowed from no more than five households, maintaining physical distancing.
In an unexpected move, the First Minister announced on Thursday places of worship will be able to reopen from July 15 for “limited” communal prayer.
The limit on numbers who can pray has not yet been confirmed, but Sturgeon indicated it would be higher than what is being permitted for weddings, civil partnerships and funerals.
Speaking on Friday, the FM said: “We know that the restrictions on funeral services in particular have been incredibly tough – in many cases utterly heartbreaking.
“I hope this change is a welcome one, though of course it still doesn’t permit full-scale gatherings for weddings, civil partnerships or funerals.”