Scotland’s ‘stay at home’ lockdown restriction lifted

The rule has been replaced with guidance to ‘stay local’ for at least three weeks.

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Scotland’s ‘stay at home’ lockdown restriction has been lifted.

The rule has been replaced with guidance to ‘stay local’, meaning Scots can now travel within their own local authority area for non-essential purposes.

The change came into effect on Friday and will last for at least three weeks.

From Monday, hairdressers and barbers will be able to welcome back customers for pre-booked appointments.

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Click-and-collect retail services, along with garden centres, car dealerships and homeware stores, will also be able to reopen from April 5.

University and college students will be allowed to return to on-campus learning, and outdoor contact sports for 12-17-year-olds can resume.

On Thursday, Scotland’s chief medical officer warned that large gatherings over the Easter weekend could reverse progress in suppressing coronavirus.

Dr Gregor Smith said rising case numbers elsewhere in Europe show the situation remains “fragile” and could change quickly.

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He said: “Let me speak directly about the Easter weekend, which is coinciding directly with some easing of restrictions.

“There will be a huge temptation to make the most of it, particularly if we’re blessed with some nice weather.

“However, with that comes a real risk to all the good progress we’ve made over the last few months.

“We can see by looking at Europe and other parts of the world how fragile our own position is.

“It remains imperative that we abide by the rules, we stay local and we look after each other.”

Further updates on the route map out of lockdown are expected throughout April, however Scotland is on schedule to ease restrictions further with cafes, restaurants, and gyms expected to open from April 26.

Non-essential shops, libraries, museums and galleries will also reopen from that date, and six people from up to three households will be able to meet outdoors.

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Beer gardens will also be able to open, Nicola Sturgeon earlier confirmed. Pubs will have to wait until May 17 to reopen indoors.

The First Minister said: “Cafes, restaurants and bars will be able to serve people outdoors, in groups of up to six from three households, until 10pm.

“Alcohol will be permitted, and there will be no requirement for food to be served.”

Hospitality will be able to open indoors on the same day until 8pm, but only for food and non-alcoholic drinks.

The First Minister said continued suppression of the virus “will allow us to enjoy many of the things that we took for granted before the pandemic – for example, normal family gatherings where we can hug our loved ones, sporting events, gigs and nightclubs”.

She said she hoped that vaccination and Test and Protect would lead Scotland closer to normality, but added she could not say when restrictions would be fully lifted.

Sturgeon added: “For me to set a precise date for all of that right now would involve plucking it out of thin air – and I’d be doing it to make my life easier, not yours.

“I am not going to do that. But I do believe that over the coming weeks, as more and more adults are vaccinated, it will be possible to set a firmer date by which many of these normal things will be possible.

“I am optimistic that this date will be over the summer.

“I know I will not be the only one now looking forward, with a real sense of hope, to hugging my family this summer.”