Nicola Sturgeon update: everything FM said today as Scotland lockdown easing delayed until 19 July

The First Minister confirmed the lifting of restrictions will be paused for three weeks, with no other areas moving to Level 0 on 28 June as previously planned

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that lockdown easing will be delayed in Scotland by three weeks.

No mainland areas will move to Level 0 - the lowest level of restrictions - on 28 June as previously planned, Ms Sturgeon told MSPs in Holyrood on Tuesday (22 June).

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It comes as the country recorded 2,167 new Covid cases on Monday (21 June), which is the highest daily total since the second wave peak in January.

Nicola Sturgeon will make her next Covid update on Tuesday (Getty Images)
Nicola Sturgeon will make her next Covid update on Tuesday (Getty Images)

Here is everything Ms Sturgeon announced.

What did the First Minister say during her update?

It had previously been hoped that most of Scotland would move to Level 0 next week, but the SNP leader said in her update that the current restrictions will remain in place until 19 July.

The decision not to allow any part of the country to change level was made based on a 40% increase in new Covid cases in the country in the last week, the First Minister said.

From mid-July, the areas of Scotland which are not already in Level 0 will move to the lowest grade of restrictions, allowing for the limits of household gatherings indoors to increase.

And it is hoped that the two metre social distancing rule will be reduced to one metre from that date if “the data supports this”, Ms Sturgeon said.

Following that, the government aims to lift all major remaining legal Covid restrictions on 9 August if possible.

But the Scottish Government will not advise an immediate return to offices then, she said, and people will still need to wear face coverings in some settings.

The delay to lockdown easing will allow for more time to roll out the Covid vaccines, which Ms Sturgeon said were breaking the link between the number of cases and the number of hospitalisations and deaths.

Making the announcement in the Scottish Parliament, the First Minister said: "Assuming we are meeting the revised strategic aim, we hope that all parts of Scotland, not currently in that level, can move to Level 0 on 19 July.

“That means, for example, that the limits for household gatherings indoors will increase from that date, and up to 200 people will be able to attend weddings and funerals.

"We also hope - assuming the data supports this - that the general indoor physical distancing requirement can be reduced from 2 metres to 1 metre.

"And we hope, from that date, to lift the outdoor requirement to physically distance.

"In addition - in recognition of the reduced risk of outdoor transmission and therefore the desire to encourage people to stay outdoors as much as possible - we hope that limits on informal outdoor social gatherings, in private gardens for example, will also be removed at this stage."

The decision not to go ahead with the major changes mirrors the announcement made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday 14 June, as he extended England’s restrictions by another four weeks, pushing so-called “Freedom Day” back to 19 July.

Will there be any changes on 28 June?

Some small changes will still be introduced next Monday (28 June) to allow more guests to attend weddings and go to funeral services.

From then, suppliers of wedding services, and other people employed by the couple getting married, will no longer count towards the cap on numbers at a wedding.

In addition, those accompanying the wedding couple down the aisle will no longer need to wear face coverings.

And live entertainment at receptions will be permitted, although people will still need to stay seated at tables.

For funerals, people from more than one household will be able to help carry a coffin from next week, and take a cord when lowering it.

Further changes for weddings and funerals will come into place on 19 July if the country moves to Level 0, allowing up to 200 people to attend weddings and funerals.