Pubs, gyms and non-essential shops can reopen from next Monday as the whole of Scotland moves into level three coronavirus restrictions, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed on Tuesday.
Speaking at a coronavirus briefing, she said the changes would come into effect on April 26, as previously indicated in the government’s route map out of lockdown.
All shops will also be able to reopen from Monday, along with close-contact services, such as beauty parlours.
Cafes, pubs and restaurants can open until 8pm indoors – but no alcohol can be served – and 10pm outdoors, where alcohol can be consumed.
Updated guidance is being published on collecting customer contact details, requiring venues to take down contact details for all customers, not just the lead member of each group.
Sturgeon said this “additional precaution” was needed to help with contact tracing in the event of a Covid outbreak.
Six people from two households can meet indoors to socialise in a cafe, bar or restaurant – but indoor socialising in households is still not allowed.
She also stressed that while people would be able to meet indoors in places such as cafes, it was not yet possible for them to meet others in private homes.
“I know that can seem illogical, it can seem really difficult and unfair,” Sturgeon said.
But she said risks of transmitting the virus could be higher in people’s homes, where it is harder to enforce physical distancing and provide the necessary levels of ventilation.
Takeaway food can be collected indoors, rather than from a serving hatch or at the door.
In one of the most significant easing of restrictions to date, other measures being lifted from next Monday include the reopening of visitor attractions such as museums and art galleries, the resumption of driving lessons and tests, and an increase in the number of people who can attend weddings, funerals and wakes to 50.
Gyms and swimming pools can reopen for individual exercise and non-essential work will be permitted in people’s homes, such as cleaning and painting and decorating.
Tourist accommodation can reopen on Monday but some restrictions remain in place for self-catering holidays.
All remaining Scotland and UK domestic travel restrictions will also be lifted, allowing for travel anywhere in Scotland and also with England and Wales.
Restrictions on travel to Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man will also be lifted.
But the First Minister stressed that international travel for “non-essential purposes” was “not yet permitted”.
She accepted this was “difficult” for tourism and aviation industries, as well as those with family and friends overseas.
“We want to restore normality to international travel as quickly as possible,” she said.
“But we must be sensible as we do that, in light of the risks that we face and in light of the risks we see across many parts of the world. Until at least May 17, and possibly for a period after that, you should not leave the UK for non-essential purposes,” she added.
Sturgeon was speaking as a further two coronavirus deaths and 178 positive cases were recorded in Scotland in the past 24 hours.
It brings the death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 7644.
There are 106 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, up two in 24 hours, and 13 patients are in intensive care, down one.
The First Minister also said 2,750,052 people have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, up 2358 from yesterday, and 797,267 have received their second dose.
Mainland Scotland and some islands have been under level four restrictions since January 5.
The ‘stay at home’ order changed on April 2 to ‘stay local’ for a period of thre weeks.
But the First Minister announced an acceleration of lockdown easing earlier this month due to a reduction in the prevalence of the virus and to support mental health and wellbeing
On Friday, Scots were able to leave their local authority area for socialising, recreation or exercise, although travel between the mainland and some islands remains off-limits.
Six adults from up to six households are also now able to meet up outdoors.
The next scheduled relaxation of lockdown rules is scheduled to come into effect from May 17, when the Scottish Government plans to move all of Scotland to level two.
On that date, pubs are expected to be allowed to open indoors and serve alcohol until 10.30pm and contact sports, cinemas, and some small scale events should be able to take place.
Up to four people from two households should also be able to meet up indoors from May 17.
The country is scheduled to move to level one on Monday, June 7 and then level zero later that month.
The First Minister said that by the “deeper part of the summer” she hoped “something much more like normality” would be possible.
“We are hopeful, very hopeful, of seeing sustained progress,” she stated.