Sturgeon reveals Scotland’s route out of lockdown

Scotland’s route out of lockdown will come in stages, with the country’s stay-at-home order set to end on 5 April, followed weeks later by a return to a system of levels.

Unveiling the plan, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament that, at present, there is “limited scope” to ease restrictions.

15 March

  • the rest of primary school years, as well as more secondary school pupils, will return to classrooms
  • the return of more university and college students for in-person learning
  • the resumption of non-contact outdoor team sports for 12-17-year-olds
  • a relaxing of the rules on outdoor mixing, with four people from two households allowed to meet.

5 April

  • the lifting of the “stay at home” order
  • six people from two households will be able to meet outdoors
  • the reopening of some shops through an expansion of the essential retailers list and a resumption of click-and-collect services
  • the restarting of communal worship (although this may come earlier to allow gatherings at Easter and for Passover).

26 April

  • Scotland will return to a levels system of restrictions, with a move down to Level 3 for most areas
  • this should allow a “phased but significant reopening of the economy, including non essential retail, hospitality and services like gyms and hairdressers”, Ms Sturgeon said.

However, Ms Sturgeon didn’t set out anything past April and warned that travel restrictions in Scotland will remain for “some time yet” as she stressed the importance of COVID cases, particularly of new variants, not being imported into the country.

She added: “It is important to stress, of course, that all of this depends on us continuing to suppress the virus now – and continuing to accept some trade-offs for a period, for example on international travel.

“However, if we do so, I am optimistic that we can make good progress in returning more normality to our lives and the economy.

“I know this is still a cautious approach which though absolutely essential to control the virus and protect health, is extremely difficult for many businesses.”