Almost all of Scotland’s remaining Covid-19 restrictions are to end from Monday, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.
In a statement to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, the First Minister said that a number of mitigation measures will remain in place.
Sturgeon said that the lifting of restrictions on August 9 would include an end to social distancing and limits on the size of social gatherings.
However, the wearing of face coverings in some public spaces will continue, with Sturgeon saying that they are “likely to be mandated in law for some time to come.”
Secondary school pupils will be required to wear face masks during lessons when schools return, as well as one-metre social distancing, which will be reviewed six weeks into the new term.
The requirement to self-isolate after close contact with a Covid-positive person will also be dropped in Scotland if a negative test result is received, whilst the use of vaccine passports for access to some events are under consideration.
Contact tracing of positive cases will remain, pubs and restaurants must continue to collect customer details and home working will continue to be advised.
Sturgeon said that while the Government expects the return of large scale events, for a “limited period”, organisers of outdoor events of more than 5000, and indoor events of more than 2000, will have to apply for permission to their local authority.
Despite the easing of restrictions, the First Minister urged people to continue to take care and caution.
She said: “This change is significant and hard-earned. The sacrifices everyone has made over the past year-and-a-half can never be overstated.
“However, while this move will restore a substantial degree of normality, it is important to be clear that it does not signal the end of the pandemic or a return to life exactly as we knew it before Covid struck.
“Declaring freedom from, or victory over, this virus is premature.
“The harm the virus can do, including through the impact of long Covid, should not be underestimated. And its ability to mutate may yet pose us real challenges.
“So even as we make this move today, care and caution will still be required, and that is why I want to focus now on the protections and guidance that will remain in place after August 9.”
Sturgeon also did not rule out the re-imposition of coronavirus restrictions if needed in order to keep the country safe.
“We all hope – I know I certainly do – that the restrictions we lift next Monday will never again have to be re-imposed. But no-one can guarantee that,” she told the Scottish Parliament.
“This virus remains a threat – and as we enter winter, it may well pose challenges for us again.
“So as we have done throughout, the Government will seek to take whatever action is necessary to keep the country safe.
“But as has also been the case throughout, we all have a part to play in keeping the virus under control.”