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First Minister gives the greenlight to tourism and retail to reopen next week alongside pubs and childcare as coronavirus lockdown easing plan moves into phase three


By Scott Maclennan

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Nicola Sturgeon.
Nicola Sturgeon.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced Scotland will move into phase three of the route out of lockdown with what she called “the highest risk changes we have made so far”.

The changes will start to take effect from tomorrow and will extend into next week and up to the end of the month.

From Monday non-essential shops inside shopping centres can reopen with physical distancing, as can organised outdoor contact sports, play and physical activity for children and young people under 18, subject to guidance.

Dental practices can start seeing registered patients but only for non-aerosol routine care (not involving drills or other instruments that could lead to fine saliva spray being released into the air). Urgent care centres will continue to provide such procedures.

Indoor visits and overnight stays will be permitted for friends up to three households at one time with a maximum of eight people, while outdoors five households can meet up together – up to 15 people in total.

From Wednesday places of worship can reopen for services, communal prayer and contemplation, with physical distancing and limits on both numbers and singing.

Museums, galleries, monuments, libraries, various other visitor attractions and cinemas as well as hairdressers and barbers can also reopen with enhanced hygiene measures.

All childcare providers can open subject to individual provider arrangements and pubs can reopen indoors alongside all holiday accommodation.

The two metre rule on social distancing will be reduced for public transport and retail, so long as other protection measures are in place.

From tomorrow it will be compulsory for most people to wear face coverings in shops as well as on public transport.

The restrictions on attending funerals will be eased.

Marriage ceremonies and civil partnership registrations with physical distancing will also be permitted.

Ms Sturgeon said “substantial progress” against Covid-19 allowed the move into phase three but warned people to still avoid crowded places “literally like the plague”.

No further Scottish deaths from Covid-19 were reported in the last 24 hours. The total number of deaths recorded remains at 2490.

"The statistical trends are clear in Scotland," the First Minister said. "Covid-19 has now been suppressed to a low level.

"Three weeks ago there were more than 540 people in hospital with confirmed Covid-19. The figure today is 342 and there are now just three patients with confirmed Covid-19 in intensive care.

"The number of people dying has also fallen week on week as shown in our daily statistics and also in the weekly reports from the National Records of Scotland.

"In addition our latest modelling suggests that the R-number is still below one. It has been between 0.6 and 0.8 for most of the past month.

"The number of people in Scotland with the virus continues to fall. Three weeks ago we estimated that around 2900 people were infectious. Our estimate for last week is that number is now around 1000 people in Scotland."

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