Nicola Sturgeon Covid briefing: date announced for lifting travel restrictions in Scotland - and next stages in the roadmap

The First Minister has set out the next stages for easing lockdown rules in Scotland this week

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has set out the next stages for easing lockdown in Scotland in her latest Covid briefing on Tuesday (13 April), including an update on travel rules.

Further relaxations will come into effect in Scotland from Friday (16 April), thanks to a fall in coronavirus cases.

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Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming changes.

Travel restrictions in Scotland will be lifted from Friday 16 April (Photo: Shutterstock/Getty Images)

When will travel restrictions be lifted in Scotland?

Travel restrictions in Scotland will be lifted from Friday (16 April), Ms Sturgeon has confirmed.

The First minister told the coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh that Scots will be allowed to travel anywhere in the country earlier than previously planned, due to continued suppression of the virus.

She told the briefing there had been three deaths from coronavirus and 221 positive tests in the past 24 hours. This followed an almost seven-month low in cases on Monday (12 April), with just 199 cases.

The rule changes mean from Friday people will be able to leave their local authority area for the purposes of socialising, recreation or exercise.

However, travel between the mainland and some islands will not be permitted.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The data allows us to make a change to this earlier than that.

“So, from Friday… we will all be able to travel anywhere in Scotland for the purposes of outdoor socialising, recreation or informal exercise.”

Changes to outdoor meetings will also take effect from Friday, Ms Sturgeon said.

“From Friday onwards, that will change to six adults from up to six households – that’s quite a significant relaxation of that outdoor meeting limit.”

What about international travel?

Ms Sturgeon said that international travel still represents a “significant risk”, and is still banned under current rules.

She said: “I know this is difficult but it is important for me to stress it – international travel does remain a significant risk, particularly given the acceleration of spread that we’re seeing in may other parts of the world and given the possibility and indeed the reality of new variants and the risk of the virus and new variants of the virus being imported into Scotland.

“It may well be the case that we do have to endure restrictions on international travel for a bit longer as the price we pay for much greater normality here in Scotland.”

Which other restrictions will be lifted?

As well as the lifting of travel restrictions, rules on outdoor social gatherings will also be lifted from Friday (16 April).

This means that six adults from up to six households will be able to meet up outside from this date.

Scotland’s current lockdown easing plan will see cafes, restaurants and beer gardens open on 26 April, along with shops, gyms, libraries and museums.

Hospitality will need to close their doors at 8pm indoors and 10pm outdoors, with alcohol only allowed to be served outside.

Travel will also be allowed on this date to other parts of Britain, with reviews planned on journeys to Northern Ireland and the Republic.

From May 17, pubs are due to open indoors until 10:30pm and contact sports, cinemas, and some small scale events can take place.

Up to four people from two households will also be able to meet up indoors.

Scotland has five tiers of coronavirus restrictions, with the entire country -except some of the islands – currently in the highest tier, Level 4.

However, Ms Sturgeon said she was confident the country will move down levels as planned, stating: “We are now extremely confident that those parts of the country currently in Level 4 will move to Level 3 on April 26, that’s now less than two weeks away.

“That means, amongst other things, that on that day shops will fully reopen. Pubs, cafes and restaurants will also be able to fully open outdoors on April 26 and will be able to open indoors on that date, but on a restricted basis.”

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