FM's statement

Rules eased in ‘cautious’ move back to normality

Shop and mask

Shoppers will still be required to wear face coverings (pic: Terry Murden)

Nicola Sturgeon today announced that most of the Scottish Government’s coronavirus restrictions will be lifted from next Monday, allowing more venues to reopen.

However, there was disappointment that the First Minister did not encourage a return to offices which is having an impact on city centre hospitality, retail and travel businesses.

Employers will be advised to encourage hybrid working, so that home working should remain part of the mix, and continued financial support will be considered.

The law requiring Scots to maintain physical distancing when visiting shops or hospitality venues will be scrapped, though face coverings will remain mandated in law “for some time to come”.

Close contacts of those who test positive for Covid will no longer have to self-isolate – as long as they are fully vaccinated

In an update to MSPs today, the First Minister confirmed “no venues will be legally required to close” from 9 August.

It will be particularly good news for nightclubs, live music venues and theatres which can finally reopen their doors after being forced to stay shut for 18 months.

But customers will still be expected to register their details when visiting entertainment venues as the Test and Protect service will continue to operate to monitor future outbreaks of Covid.

Nicola Sturgeon announcing the easing of measures

The Scottish Government is looking at a ‘status certification’ or vaccine passport app for international travel and a more limited system for access to “high risk venues”, but will not introduce it for access to public services.

Her announcement came as New York City said it will require proof of vaccination to enter all restaurants and fitness centres. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced: “If you’re unvaccinated, unfortunately you will not be able to participate in many things.” The policy will take effect over the next few weeks. 

The First Minister, confirming Scotland’s move ‘beyond level zero’, said: “This change is significant and hard-earned. The sacrifices everyone has made over the past year-and-a-half can never be overstated.

“However, while this move will restore a substantial degree of normality, it is important to be clear that it does not signal the end of the pandemic or a return to life exactly as we knew it before Covid struck.

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