Scotland braces to learn its fate: Nicola Sturgeon will announce this afternoon if remaining major coronavirus restrictions will be lifted on August 9 – but face mask rules will be staying in place
- Nicola Sturgeon will deliver statement this afternoon on next stage in unlocking
- She will say whether Scotland can move beyond Level Zero rules on August 9
- Ms Sturgeon already said face masks will remain mandatory in some settings
Scotland will today find out if its remaining major coronavirus restrictions can be lifted on August 9 as Nicola Sturgeon announces her decision on the nation’s next step out of lockdown.
The First Minister will deliver a statement this afternoon to the Scottish Parliament in which she will set out whether Scotland will be able to move beyond the current Level Zero rules.
The SNP leader set the August 9 target date back in June before the country moved to the lowest tier of curbs on July 19 which increased the numbers of people who are allowed to gather and extended the opening hours of hospitality.
Other businesses such as soft play were finally allowed to reopen – however nightclubs are among those still closed ahead of today’s statement.
Nicola Sturgeon will today announce whether the remaining major coronavirus rules in Scotland will be lifted on August 9
Sports stadia and concert venues may go back to being able to welcome full capacity crowds again for the first time in nearly 18 months if changes are approved.
It was previously suggested all the major remaining Covid-19 restrictions would be relaxed from next week as long as the over-40 age group is fully vaccinated, which the Scottish Government described as a ‘gateway condition’.
While lifting the restrictions could also bring an end to social distancing, Ms Sturgeon has already confirmed face coverings in shops and public transport will remain mandatory for ‘some time to come’.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has said social distancing guidance should change as planned but called for amendments to the self-isolation rules of those who are double vaccinated.
He said: ‘The success of Scotland and the UK’s vaccine scheme overall means we can now look to move forward, cautiously but confidently, and remove almost all Covid restrictions.
‘The blanket requirement to self-isolate for 10 days should be amended for those who are double vaccinated, since the virus now poses far less risk to people with that level of protection.
‘We should move to a test-first system that lets people get on with their lives safely.
‘Scotland’s economic recovery hinges on the SNP Government moving beyond Covid restrictions – we must seize this opportunity to start rebuilding from the damage of Covid now and not delay any longer.’
Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour leader, said: ‘We are at a crucial moment in our exit from restrictions and while there is light at the end of the tunnel, we must make sure we take all the action necessary to jump start Scotland’s recovery.
The number of positive coronavirus cases continues to fall in Scotland, according to official data published by Public Health Scotland
The number of coronavirus deaths is also now falling after spiking during a third wave of infections
‘We need to ensure that people are kept safe and that businesses are helped to restart the economy.
‘Perhaps most importantly, we urgently need a plan for our NHS and care systems to ensure that workers feel supported, services are invested in and the backlog of appointments is cleared.
‘We have to learn to live with the virus, but to do so in such a way that the people of Scotland, our NHS and our economy are supported and protected.’
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