Today (30 July) First Minister Nicola Sturgeon updated Scotland on the next steps of the country's lockdown plans.
Until now, Scotland's major easing of lockdown have coincided with a phased approach, each new announcement heralding the start of a new 'Phase'.
However, though Scotland is currently in Phase 3, today's announcement does not take it into Phase 4.
Instead, this cautious approach details what will be changing for Scotland residents in the coming weeks, while remaining under the umbrella term of Phase 3.
During the announcement, a number of changes were confirmed as having set dates, while other plans for reopening services and businesses would fall under 'indicative' dates that could be pushed back depending on the course of the pandemic.
Here is everything you need to know:
What is confirmed as changing in Phase 3?
The following are confirmed dates on which things will change during Phase 3:
- 1 August: Pause Shielding - add some more info and link to your explainer
- 3 August: Relax certain restrictions on some support groups and services and for sports coaches - once relevant guidance is implemented
- 3 August: Routine eye care services can be provided within community optometry practices and in patients’ own homes
- 11 August: Children can return to school full time. Expect a phased return over the week with all children back by 18 August
- 17 August: Urgent dental care involving aerosols may begin to be provided in practices for NHS patients
What could change from Monday 24 August?
Monday 24 August is the first next 'indicative' date.
That means that while these easings have been announced, they will not take place if the status of the pandemic begins to deteriorate in Scotland.
- Live events outdoors - with physical distancing, enhanced hygiene, and restricted numbers following guidance
- Organised contact sports outdoors for all ages - following the guidance of relevant sports bodies
- Bingo halls and other indoor entertainment, with physical distancing and following guidance
- Funfairs - static and travelling following guidance
- Amusement arcades and casinos following guidance (including enhanced hygiene)
- Snooker/pool halls, indoor bowling following guidance (incl. enhanced hygiene)
- Driving lessons can resume following guidance
What could change on Monday 24 August?
In many cases, the government will keep the following guidance under review to consider whether earlier re-opening dates are feasible.
- Gyms (indoor) following guidance (including physical distancing and enhanced hygiene)
- Swimming pools (indoor) following guidance
- Soft play (indoor) following guidance (including enhanced hygiene)
- Live events (indoor) following guidance (e.g. with physical distancing and restricted numbers)
- Other indoor entertainment venues (e.g. theatres, live music/concert venues) following guidance such as physical distancing requirements (Does not include nightclubs)
- Indoor sports courts with physical distancing and following guidance (including skating, dance studios)
- Stadia (limited re-opening) following guidance (e.g. physical distancing, restricted numbers) with option for testing on earlier dates where agreed
What else could change?
Beyond these indicative dates, the Scottish government announced plans to reopen non-essential offices and call centres following implementation of relevant guidance (including on physical distancing).
However, changes in this area won't be implemented until at least 11 September, and are subject to a further review.
For now, working from home and working flexibly will remain the default.