Lockdown restrictions in Scotland have been further eased following the government’s latest review on 18 June, with the country now moving into the second phase of its lockdown exit plan.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Thursday (18 June) that a number of new measures will now come into effect, and will be similar to those already in place in England.
What rules will be changed in phase 2?
To progress to phase two, the Scottish Government required the virus to be under control, with the R rate of infection consistently below one and a sustained decline in infectious cases.
Now that these criteria have been met, the government considered it safe to ease a number of restrictions.
However, some measures will still remain in place until a later date, with Ms Sturgeon stressing the country must still exercise “care and caution”.
Here are the changes that have been made as Scotland enters phase two:
Seeing family and friends
As of Friday (19 June), people from one household can meet with people from up to two other households outdoors.
These two households can meet together or separately, and the rules state it does not always have to be the same households that meet. However, there should be no more than two households together at one time, and no more meetings than two per day. Groups should also not exceed more than eight people at one time.
Guidance now states that people can go inside another household to use the toilet, if necessary, if you are meeting in the garden of another household.
People who have been shielding are now allowed to go outside for exercise, and from Friday (19 June) are permitted to meet people from one other household, providing social distancing measures are adhered to and groups do not exceed eight people.
Extended household groups
From Friday (19 June), anyone who lives on their own, or only with children under the age of 18, are allowed to form an ‘extended household group’ with one other household.
Within an extended household group, people will be able to meet indoors, without physical distancing and stay overnight, but only if they wish.
However, they must continue to see any other households outdoors only, and stay more than two metres apart from them.
Extended households must not include anyone who is shielding.
People have been asked to continue to stay within or close to their local area, and not travel more than five miles from their home for leisure and recreation purposes.
However, this limit does not apply to meeting with family and friends.
Schools, childcare and other educational settings
On-campus university lab research will be able to restart subject to physical distancing.
However, schools are not expected to reopen to children until 11 August. Children will return to school under a blended model, which will combine part-time in school teaching, and part-time in home learning.
Work and business
The construction sector will be able to move to the next phase of its restart plan from Monday (22 June), and dentists will be allowed to reopen, initially for urgent care.
From 29 June, some indoor workplaces that have so far remained closed in line with government guidance, such as factories, labs and warehouses, can start to reopen, with strict physical distancing and hygiene measures in place.
Optometry practices will reopen for emergency and essential services from 29 June.
However, non-essential offices and call centres should remain closed at this stage, and remote working should remain the default position for those who can.
Shopping, eating out and drinking
From 29 June, outdoor markets will be able to reopen, along with all non-essential shops if they have outdoor entrances and exits.
However, indoor shopping centres will remain closed, except for access to essential shops, such as supermarkets and pharmacists.
Ms Sturgeon confirmed on 18 June that pubs will not be permitted to reopen just yet, and explained she expected to have further scientfic advice in two weeks.
Further guidance on the reopening of pubs and beer gardens will be set out on or around 2 July.
Sport, culture and leisure activities
Professional sport can resume from Monday (22 June), although due to strict public health restrictions still in place, this will only be permitted behind closed doors.
Outdoor playgrounds and outdoor sports courts will be allowed to reopen from 29 June.
Outdoor businesses, such as zoos and garden attractions, can also reopen from 29 June, although initially people should not travel more than around five miles to visit them. This restriction is planned to be lifted in phase three.
Where places are ticketed, tickets should be bought in advance.
Restrictions on moving house will also be lifted on 29 June.
Gatherings and occasions
Places of worship will be permitted to reopen from Monday (22 June), although this will be for individual prayer only, not communal gatherings.
Registration offices will reopen from 29 June, but only for essential business, and marriages and civil partnerships will be permitted, but only outdoors at this stage and with limited numbers.
When will the next lockdown review be?
The Scottish government will continue to hold a review of current restrictions every three weeks as a minimum, with the next review expected to take place on 9 July.
Any changes could then come into force “within days” of this date, providing the country continues to make progress in its handling of the virus outbreak.