Parts of Scotland will move to Level 1 restrictions this weekend, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.
Ms Sturgeon has said that 18 local authorities will see lockdown restrictions ease from Saturday (5 June), thanks to falling Covid-19 cases in some areas.
The changes mean that more people will be able to meet both indoors and outdoors, while soft play centres and funfairs will be allowed to open.
What happens at Level 1?
The First Minister told MSPs on Tuesday (1 June) the following regions will move to Level 1 restrictions from Saturday:
Argyll & Bute
Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire
Perth & Kinross
East and West Lothian
Dumfries & Galloway
Under Level 1 rules, people are able to meet with up to six people from three households indoors, overnight stays are allowed, and there is no requirement to socially distance while inside.
For restaurants and cafes, eight people from three households can dine together indoors, with up to 12 from different households able to sit together outside. Children under the age of 12 do not count towards limited numbers, therefore six adults and their children could all meet up in one household.
All entertainment venues can reopen, except for nightclubs and adult entertainment venues, and events at stadiums can also take place, with maximum numbers in place.
Outdoor seated and open space events are advised to operate with a maximum capacity of 1,000 people, while a maximum capacity of 100 people are allowed at weddings and funerals.
Working from home should continue where possible, despite the alleviated restrictions.
Central belt will stay in Level 2
It was also announced that Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles council areas will also all move to Level 0, and the vast majority of Scotland’s central belt will remain in Level 2, including capital city Edinburgh, while Glasgow will be moved from Level 3 to Level 2.
Ms Sturgeon said that Edinburgh and Midlothian, Dundee, East Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, North, South and East Ayrshire, North and South Lanarkshire, Clackmannanshire and Stirling did not meet the criteria to allow restrictions to ease.
The First Minister told MSPs there could even be an argument to move these areas into Level 3 restrictions, given the raw figures, but the impact of the vaccination programme has meant this would not be needed.
She said: “It is important to stress that this is a pause, not a step backwards. And Level 2 is not lockdown.
“It does have an impact on opening hours of pubs and restaurants and the numbers that can attend certain events.”
“And taking a cautious approach now – while more people get fully vaccinated – gives us the best chance of staying on the right track overall.”
However, Scots are urged to be cautious as restrictions ease and are encouraged to keep social gatherings outdoors as this is less likely to cause Covid-19 transmission.
‘Vaccines are changing the game’
Ms Sturgeon said that the easing of restrictions has been made possible by the success of the continuing vaccination programme, which she said has “changed the game”.
She added: “The vaccines are changing the game. And that means we can still be optimistic about our chances of much more normality over the summer and beyond.
“Indeed, in the days ahead, and while it may still feel a way off for many of us, we will publish more detailed work on what we expect life beyond Level 0 to look like, as that greater normality returns.
“Indeed, one reason for proceeding with more caution now, is to make it easier in the future to resume our progress to Level 0 – and then beyond.”
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