Falkirk area returns to almost pre-pandemic status as restrictions are further eased
Residents of Falkirk began enjoying freedom of movement today not seen since before Christmas last year as businesses, entertainment venues, gyms and other people’s homes became available to them once more.
And the much publicised ability to hug people was also reinstated.
Apart from a couple of COVID-19 hotspots – Glasgow and Moray – mainland Scotland moved from level three restrictions down to level two from today.
New freedoms now available in the Falkirk area include up to six people from three households being able to meet in each other’s homes or gardens without physical distancing – this was the limit previously planned for level one but has now been accelerated for areas in level two.
According to the Scottish Government people will be encouraged to use their own judgement when it comes to close physical contact with others.
Up to six people from three households will be able to meet indoors in places such as pubs, cafes and restaurants – which are all opened up again – while up to eight people from eight households will be able to meet outdoors.
Pubs and restaurants are now able to serve alcohol indoors until 10.30pm in two-hour booked slots and cinemas, theatres, concert halls, music venues, comedy clubs, amusement arcades, casinos, snooker halls and bingo halls are once again open for business.
Events can now resume with a maximum capacity of 100 people indoors or 250 outdoors where there is unrestricted standing and 500 for events with seating, with organisers of festivals allowed to apply to hold larger gatherings.
And if we want to take a foreign holiday we can now do so – although there are still a number of international travel restrictions in place.
In the world of sport, outdoor contact sports – like football and rugby – and indoor group exercise classes will be able to restart.
The relaxation of restrictions means colleges and universities will have more flexibility to resume in-person classroom/lecture threatre learning as opposed to remote learning.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stated thje success of the COVID-19 vaccination programme had allowed the Scottish Government to relax more restrictions and “restore much more normality”.
She added: “It is almost eight months since most of us have been able to meet in each other’s homes. While I know all of us have been looking forward to being able to do that again, I would encourage everyone to please use judgement – close physical contact still carries risk.
"If you have loved ones who are vulnerable for any reason, you should still be careful. And you should perhaps limit the overall number of people that you choose to have close physical contact with.
“We still intend to be highly cautious on international travel, given the risk of new variants, but we consider the situation now allows us to begin a careful move away from blanket restrictions on non-essential travel.
"Everyone should think seriously about whether they really need to travel abroad this summer. I know for many people international travel is about family connections. But when it comes to holidays abroad, my advice continues to be to err on the side of caution and to staycation this summer.”