Scotland level 0: when will Covid rules and restrictions be lifted and what did Nicola Sturgeon say in update?

The First Minister confirmed Scotland’s move to level 0, but said there will be changes to the original plan

Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that Scotland will move to Level 0 on Monday (19 July) but with some changes to the initial plans due to the spread of the Delta variant.

The First Minister said that face coverings will remain mandatory after 19 July and likely “for some time to come”.

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The move to level zero means that more people will be allowed to attend wedding and funerals, and there are changes to the limits on meetings indoors.

Nicola Sturgeon update: what did FM say in announcement - and will Scotland move to level 0 on 19th July? (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

However, there will still be limits on outdoor meetings, and the return of office workers will be delayed.

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What did Nicola Sturgeon say in her update?

Speaking to the Scottish parliament on 13 July, she said: “Measures like the continued wearing of face coverings are important, not just to give added protection to the population as a whole, but also to give protection and assurance to those amongst us who are particularly vulnerable and previously had to shield.

“Lifting all restrictions and mitigations right now would put all of us at greater risk - but in particular it would make it much more difficult for the most clinically vulnerable to go about their normal lives”

Sturgeon said it is encouraging that case numbers “appear to have levelled off” and that vaccination is “weakening the link between case numbers and severe acute illness”.

However, she stressed that there are “still reasons to be concerned - and certainly not complacent - about the current levels of infection”.

She said that the risks of long Covid are not yet fully understood, but that it is “causing misery for many”.

For this reason, she said, “we cannot be complacent about young people getting the virus” and that doing so would “risk treating them as an experiment”.

The first minister also urged everyone to get vaccinated “as quickly as possible”.

She said: “Walk-in vaccination centres are now open in all mainland health board areas for anyone over 18 who has not yet received a first dose, or who received a first dose eight weeks or more ago."

"I appeal to everyone due to receive a first or second dose to get it as quickly as possible. It is the single most important thing any of us can all do to protect ourselves and each other."

What will change from 19 July?

As originally planned Scotland’s move to Level 0 will go ahead on 19 July, meaning up to eight people from four households will be able to meet indoors at home.

Ten people from four households will be able to meet in an indoor public place, and hospitality businesses will be able to remain open until midnight.

In hospitality venues, like pubs and restaurants, customers won’t need to pre-book a two-hour slot, but they will still need to provide details to Test and Protect.

The new rules will allow up to 15 people from 15 households to meet outdoors.

In groups of 15, there is no requirement to social distance as the risk is lower outside.

However, separate groups of 15 should maintain social distance of 1m, reduced from 2m, from those in other groups when meeting outdoors.

Children under 12 don’t factor in the total number of people and as of Monday they will not count toward the total number of households.

Ceremonies, like weddings and funerals, can be attended by up to 200 guests in this level.

The limit on outdoor events remains the same, at 1000 for standing events and 2000 for seated or open space events.

However, seated indoor events will now be able to take place with up to 400 attendees, and organisers can apply to stage larger events.

In those parts of the country currently in Level 2, the change will mean soft play centres will be able to reopen.

Sturgeon confirmed that, although some restrictions will remain in place beyond 19 July, the plan remains to move beyond Level 0 after August 9.

The First Minister said the instruction for people to work from home where possible will remain in place until 9 August.

Sturgeon also said that from 19 July, double-vaccinated holidaymakers returning to Scotland from amber list countries will not have to quarantine.