More adults allowed to meet outdoors as lockdown eases

Restrictions begin to ease as coronavirus case numbers fall and vaccine rollout continues.

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Restrictions on outdoor meetings in Scotland will be eased from Friday.

Four adults from two separate households will be allowed to meet up, including in gardens, Nicola Sturgeon told parliament.

Under the current rules, only two adults from two households are allowed to get together for exercise.

Group of four 12-17 year-olds from four different households can also meet outdoors from Friday, when outdoor, non-contact sports for adults in groups of up to 15 can also restart.

Communal worship in Scotland will be allowed from March 26, with a limit of 50 people allowed to gather.

Sturgeon said: “This is in time for Passover, Easter, Ramadan and Vaisakhi.”

The First Minister said a falling number of coronavirus cases and the success of the vaccination rollout had allowed restrictions to be loosened.

More school pupils are set to return to class on Monday, while hospitality businesses and non-essential shops are scheduled to reopen by the end of April.

Meanwhile, another 19 deaths and 466 new cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in Scotland. Hospitals are currently treating 614 patients, including 50 in intensive care.

A total of 1,789,377 people have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine as of Tuesday morning – an increase of 14,718 in a day – and 123,686 have received their second dose.

The Scottish Government “will not hesitate” to ease more restrictions earlier if data supports it, Sturgeon said.

The First Minister told MSPs: “If the data allows us to relax more restrictions more quickly than we have previously indicated, we will not hesitate to do so.

“I’m well aware of just how difficult continued restrictions are – and I know that they get harder rather than easier to bear, as time goes on.

“I also know – because I feel this too – that the progress on vaccination makes us even more impatient to reach the end of this ordeal as quickly as possible.

“But I am certain that easing restrictions too quickly would be a mistake that we would regret.”