Scots will be able to travel further than five miles for recreation from next week – and be allowed to see family indoors later in July – under provisional government plans.
Setting out “indicative dates” for the lifting of lockdown measures provided Covid-19 continues to be suppressed, Nicola Sturgeon said she hoped it would provide “greater clarity” for people.
From next Friday, July 3, rules on travelling within the country should be relaxed and Scots able to re-enter self-catering accommodation such as caravans and holiday homes.
They will be allowed to travel to beauty spots and destinations around Scotland, with the previous guidance of a five-mile limit on journeys for recreation and leisure scrapped.
Then, from Wednesday, July 15, people will be allowed to meet indoors with members of one other household for the first time since lockdown began, allowing reunions at home between friends and family.
The only previous exception to this rule was the “extended household” groups announced by the First Minister last week.
That measure allows people living alone – such as a single parent or grandparent, or people in a non-cohabiting couple – to join with one other household and behave like a single household.
Speaking to MSPs on Wednesday, Sturgeon said the “extended household” guidelines could be further broadened on July 10, with a specific focus on enabling young people and children to mix more with their peers.
The Scottish Government has earmarked that same date to sanction outdoor meetings between multiple households, such as in parks or gardens.
Currently, a maximum of three households may meet outside at any one time, with a limit of eight people present and social distancing between households.
If Covid-19 cases continue to reduce, Scotland will move from phase two into phase three of its routemap out of lockdown on July 9.
In the following days, shopping centres will reopen and organised children’s sport allowed to resume (July 13), while hairdressers, pubs, restaurants, cinemas, museums, galleries and hotels will reopen (July 15) provided they meet public health requirements.
Beer gardens and other outdoor hospitality should be permitted to open their doors again slightly earlier, from Monday, July 6.
The First Minister said: “This greater clarity is possible because of the progress we have made against the virus – but delivering on the milestones depends on that progress continuing.”
She said pace of easing lockdown in Scotland is “slower than England’s” but “right for our circumstances and, I hope, more likely to be sustainable than if we went faster”.
The First Minister added that despite the positive trends in the virus in recent weeks, it is still expected to “pose a real and significant threat for some time to come”.
Just nine new cases of coronavirus were reported in Scotland in the last 24 hours – the first time cases have been in single digits since early March – while four new Covid-19 deaths were recorded.
Sturgeon said: “We must keep working to drive it down further, towards the point of elimination – because that then gives us the best chance of keeping it under control through testing, surveillance, contact tracing and the application of targeted suppression measures when necessary.
“The prize if we succeed is getting greater normality back in our lives, maybe more quickly than we would have envisaged a few weeks ago, and without reversals back into blanket lockdown.”