Changes announced

Covid restrictions eased but FM urges caution

Nicola Sturgeon addressing parliament

Scotland’s social restrictions will be further eased from next Monday after the First Minister told MSPs “we have turned the corner on the Omicron wave”.

The changes announced today include an end to nightclub closures and table service in pubs, though Nicola Sturgeon warned that it did not mean the end of the pandemic.

In an update, she said: “I can confirm today that all of these measures will be lifted from next Monday, 24 January.

“We will also from Monday remove the guidance advising adults against non-professional indoor contact sports, so that these can resume as normal.

“And from Monday we will also lift the guidance asking people to stick to a three household limit on indoor gatherings.

“However, it is important to stress this point: notwithstanding the improving situation, the level of COVID infection circulating in the community is still high.”

“So to minimise the risk of us getting the virus it would be sensible for all of us to remain cautious in our social interactions at this stage.”

Some rules have already changed, with the limit on crowds at large outdoor events lifted on Monday

Just weeks after warning of a “tsunami” of cases, she said the latest data “gives us confidence that we have turned the corner on the Omicron wave”.

She advised the public to maintain hygiene precautions to help keep everyone safe and protect the NHS.

There will be no extension of the vaccine passport scheme but businesses, service providers and places of worship must continue t take “reasonable measures” to minimise the spread of coronavirus on their premises.

This means face coverings remain mandatory in public indoor settings and public transport.

Businesses and organisations should still stick to guidance on minimising the spread of the virus.

Hospitality businesses must continue to collect contact details for customers to help the effective operation of Test & Protect.

The moves come as businesses continue to express concern at the slow delivery of grant support which was announced last month.

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