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The Scottish Government has released its timetable, detailing the route out of lockdown back into a more flexible way of combatting the virus and reopening its economy and society.

‘Since 23 February,’ the Government said in its report, ‘we have made good progress in suppressing the virus, although there is no room for complacency. Our vaccination programme has rolled out further, thanks to the outstanding efforts of many thousands of people. Uptake is very high and vaccination is continuing across the priority groups. By 11 March 2021, 1.8 million people had received their first dose: an 8% increase from 4 March. There are now indications of decreasing case rates and deaths among those groups vaccinated first. We expect that vaccination will reduce infection levels in the most vulnerable groups in the coming weeks and months.

‘Given the progress we have made in our vaccination programme, and the people of Scotland sticking to protective measures, fewer people are contracting the virus and therefore fewer people require hospital treatment. These recent advances, together with the strict lockdown measures in place since January, mean that we are now increasingly able to suppress the virus. This can be seen in the gradual reduction in the R number to between 0.6 and 0.8 and in the overall reduction in cases per 100,000 and of daily case rates, particularly for those groups who have now been vaccinated. We have already been able to initiate some careful but significant easings of restrictions, particularly in relation to getting children and young people back to early learning and childcare settings and schools. Further, we have been able to introduce limited easing of outdoor socialising rules for adults and 12-17 year olds. Now we can extend our planning horizon:

2 April

  • We plan to lift the ‘Stay at Home’ requirement and replace it with a ‘Stay Local’ message (retaining the current, local authority-based travel restrictions for at least a three-week period)

5 April

We will continue to monitor closely this encouraging data. Assuming that all goes well, our next significant milestone for easing restrictions will be 5 April, when we plan to ease a wider range of current restrictions in level 4 areas (some of these activities/settings are already permitted/open in Level 3 island communities) including:

  • the resumption of outdoor contact sport for 12-17 year olds
  • return of college students within the top three priority groups identified by Colleges Scotland as most likely not to complete this academic year (estimated as 29% of learners)
  • reopening of non-essential ‘click and collect’ retail
  • extending the list of retail permitted to include:
    ° garden centres (indoor and outdoor)
    ° key cutting shops
    ° mobility equipment shops
    ° baby equipment shops
    ° electrical repair shops
    ° hairdressers and barbers (with shopfronts – not mobile services), by appointment only
    ° homeware shops
    ° vehicle showrooms (appointment only) and forecourts

The prohibition of in-home socialising will continue to be kept under review at this date.

12/20 April, depending on term times

  • all children back to school full-time

26 April

Subject to supply, by mid-April, we plan to have offered the vaccine to priority vaccine groups 1-9, based on the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation advice for protecting the most vulnerable in our population. Assuming the data allows it, we expect a more significant reopening of the economy and society from 26 April. This will likely include the following easings (some of these activities/settings are already permitted/open in Level 3 island communities).

 

  • extending outdoor socialising to permit up to 6 people from up to 3 households to gather
  • allowing 12-17 year olds to meet outdoors in groups of 6 from up to 6 households
  • travel within all of mainland Scotland permitted (subject to other restrictions that remain in place)
  • remaining shops can reopen and mobile close contact services can resume
  • gyms and swimming pools can reopen for individual exercise
  • tourist accommodation to reopen (self-catering accommodation to be restricted in line with rules on indoor gathering)
  • work in people’s homes to resume
  • non-essential childcare permitted
  • driving lessons and tests to resume
  • weddings and funerals for up to 50 (including wakes and receptions with no alcohol permitted)
  • libraries, museums, galleries re-open
  • outdoor hospitality to open till 10pm with alcohol permitted. Indoor hospitality permitted without alcohol and closing at 8pm
  • social mixing in indoor public places will be subject to current maximum of 4 people from up to 2 households

The prohibition of in-home socialising will continue to be kept under review at this date.

17 May

Three weeks on from the publication of the last update, and given the progress with the vaccination programme and what we have learned about its impact on reducing transmission of the virus, we are now in a position to add a new indicative date for further easing of restrictions. From 17 May we hope to introduce the following easings:

  • re-introducing in-home socialising for up to 4 people from up to 2 households
  • further re-opening of hospitality: bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes can stay open until 10.30pm indoors with alcohol permitted and 2 hour time-limited slots and until 10pm outdoors with alcohol permitted
  • adult outdoor contact sport and indoor group exercises can resume
  • cinemas, amusement arcades and bingo halls can re-open subject to capacity constraints
  • small scale indoor and outdoor events can resume subject to capacity constraints (to be confirmed following stakeholder engagement)
  • colleges and universities can return to a more blended model of learning
  • non-professional performance arts can resume outdoors

June

We know that the coronavirus is unpredictable and is adept at mutating in order to survive. It is also vital that we allow enough time between different sets of easings to assess what effect they have had on the R number and other virus indicators. For that reason, it is too early now to give specific dates beyond May. However, we understand the need for people and businesses to plan and so, to give a broad sense of likely timings, from the start of June, we would aim for Scotland to move back to Level 1. This will allow further relaxation across all areas of the economy and society, while still applying physical distancing and other non-pharmaceutical interventions and the FACTS guidance. From the end of June, we hope that we will be able to move to Level 0.

We must also be prepared to pause if the data shows that the virus is spreading again. We will act decisively to reapply higher levels of restrictions to manage localised outbreaks should the need arise. This could be on a local or regional basis, depending on the nature of the outbreak. However, we will not leave any restrictions in place for any longer than they are necessary to meet our responsibility to safeguard the people of Scotland.

Early June

  • up to 6 people from up to 3 households can socialise indoors in a home or public place
  • up to 8 people from 3 households can socialise outdoors.
  • 8 12-17 year olds can meet socially from 8 households outdoors
  • hospitality can remain open until 11pm
  • attendance at events can increase, subject to capacity constraints
  • indoor non-contact sport can take place.
  • increased numbers at life events and places of worship subject to stakeholder engagement
  • casinos, funfairs and soft play can open, subject to capacity constraints

From end of June

  • a phased return of some office staff
  • events increase numbers subject to capacity constraints
  • increased numbers at life events and places of worship subject to stakeholder engagement

 

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