Sturgeon announces further easing of lockdown in Scotland

The First Minister said pubs, hairdressers and cinemas will be able to open from July 15.

A coronavirus sign in Waverley Station, Edinburgh
A coronavirus sign in Waverley Station, Edinburgh

Pubs, hairdressers and cinemas will be able to open from July 15 if coronavirus continues to decline in Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

Addressing MSPs in the Scottish Parliament, she revealed dates for the easing of lockdown restrictions, including plans for different households to be able to meet indoors next month.

The First Minister said while the pace of easing lockdown in Scotland is “slower than England’s”, it is “right for our circumstances and, I hope, more likely to be sustainable than if we went faster”.

Laying out an updated route map out of lockdown, Ms Sturgeon said from July 3 travel distance restrictions – with people forced to stay within five miles of their home for recreation – will be relaxed and self-catering accommodation will be able to open.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

From July 6, outdoor hospitality areas such as beer gardens will be able to open.

If Covid-19 cases continue to reduce, Scotland will enter phase three of lockdown on July 9.

From July 10,  people can meet in extended groups outdoors, with physical distancing and households can meet indoors with up to a maximum of two households, with physical distancing.

From July 13, organised outdoor sports for children will resume and nonessential shops within indoor shopping centres will reopen.

The tourism sector and all holiday accommodation will then be able to reopen from July 15.

Pubs and restaurants will also be able to open on the same date, subject to physical distancing measures along with “a number of conditions” being followed, Ms Sturgeon said.

To applause from MSPs in the chamber, she said barbers and hairdressers will also be able to open from July 15.

The First Minister warned if the Covid-19 virus begins to take hold again then the move out of lockdown “will be halted”.

Coronavirus – Thu Jun 18, 2020
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon delivering a statement on Covid-19 at the Scottish Parliament (Fraser Bremner /Scottish Daily Mail/PA)

She said: “Our challenge – not an easy one – is to manage all of this change while keeping the virus firmly under control.

“If at any stage there appears to be a risk of its resurgence, our path out of lockdown will be halted and we may even have to go backwards.

“To avoid that, we must get as close as possible to elimination of the virus now and build confidence in our ability to control it in future through surveillance, testing, contact tracing and, where necessary, targeted suppression measures.”

She added: “If we can do that then the move from phase three to phase four will become possible, perhaps as we go into August.

“That won’t be easy and it certainly cannot be taken for granted. But we can all play a part in making it happen.”

The First Minister also urged Scots to continue to follow Government advice to ensure that Covid-19 continues to be suppressed.

She said: “The choices we have made to date as individuals, and collectively as a society, have brought us this far – albeit with a lot of sorrow along the way.

“But arguably, the choices we make in the coming weeks will be even more important – as we learn to work, socialise and live alongside each other again, but in a way that keeps the virus under control.

“For us to meet each other indoors again, for more businesses to reopen, for children to return to school on a full time basis in August – all of that depends on all of us acting for the common good.”

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