Today, the First Minister has announced that we are now ready to move into phase two of the Scottish Government's four phase route map out of lockdown. We have been able to move to this phase at this time because of the good progress made in suppressing COVID-19 in Scotland.
The virus hasn't gone away though and throughout phase two, it will be crucial for everyone to play their part by observing the updated guidance and maintaining social distancing measures. Remember to keep at least 2 metres away from people outside your own household, continue to wash your hands regularly, and wear a face covering in shops and on public transport.
During phase two, it is important that you stay in your local area for leisure purposes, that is no more than five miles from your home. It is hoped this restriction will be lifted in phase three.
Remember also that Test and Protect is now in place across Scotland. This is Scotland’s way of putting into practice the 'test, trace, isolate, support' strategy. If you start showing any symptoms of coronavirus—that is a high temperature or fever, a new continuous cough, or a loss of, or change in sense of smell or taste— then you should visit the NHS Inform website to book a test immediately.
To help you better understand what the new rules are, I've summarised them below. The full guidance is available on the Scottish Government website.
Please continue to follow these rules to stay safe, protect others, and save lives.
From today (Thursday 18th June)
Anyone who is shielding, unless they live in a nursing home or residential care home, can go outdoors for exercise.
From tomorrow (Friday 19th June)
Those in the shielding group can also take part in non-contact outdoor activities.
Those in the shielding group can meet outdoors with one other household, in groups of no more than 8. Social distancing must be maintained.
People from one household can meet outdoors with people from up to 2 other households. This should be no more than two at a time, and no more than two in a single day. The advice remains that there should be no more than eight people in any group.
The guidance has been changed to permit you to go into the home of another household for the purposes of using the toilet. Doing so, you should avoid touching surfaces and immediately clean any that you do touch.
Anybody who lives on their own or only with children under the age of 18 can form an extended household group with one other household. Within extended household groups, people can meet indoors without physical distancing and stay overnight. No member of such a household group should form a similar group with another household. An extended household must not include anyone who is shielding. Should anybody in the extended group test positive for coronavirus, then the entire household group will need to self-isolate.
From Monday 22nd June
Face coverings will be mandatory on all public transport. This includes taxis and private hire cars, buses, trains, subway, planes and ferries. The will be some exemptions, for example children under five , people with breathing difficulties, and people with physical conditions which make it difficult to keep a face covering in place.
The construction sector can move to the next phase of its restart plan, and then move through the remaining stages subject to consultation with the Scottish Government.
Dentists may reopen for urgent care.
Professional sport may resume behind closed doors.
Places of worship will reopen for individual prayer.
From Monday 29th June
Some indoor workplaces that have opted to remain closed in line with guidance such as factories, labs, and warehouses, can start to reopen. Nonessential offices and call centres should remain closed.
Outdoor markets can reopen.
Outdoor playgrounds and sports centres can reopen.
Outside businesses such as zoos and garden attractions can reopen. People should not travel more than five miles from home to visit them.
Restrictions on moving house will be lifted.
Registration offices will be open for essential business
Marriages and civil partnerships will be permitted, but only outdoors at this stage and with limited numbers.
Retail premises of all sizes can reopen, but only if they have outdoor entrances and exits. For the time being, shopping centres must remain closed, except for access to essential shops such as supermarkets. Indoor shopping centres can prepare to reopen fully for phase three.
Optometry practices will reopen for emergency and essential services.
Other changes during phase two
There will be a more significant reopening of health services.
More GP services will be available and GP practices will make visits to shielded patients.
Some care services that were postponed will restart.
Some public services will reopen gradually.
Public transport will operate increased services.
Some outdoor hospitality might be able to restart, however this is subject to further scientific advice and the First Minister will make a further statement on this in due course.
The First Minister has requested a review into the minimum safe social distance that you must keep from others. A further statement will follow in due course, but for now this remains at 2 metres.
People should continue to work from home where possible.
The Scottish Government is considering making face covering mandatory in shops and a further statement on this will be given before 29th June.