Happy Friday as lockdown loosened and sun on way

Nicola Sturgeon makes the announcement of a relaxation in lockdown

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Nine weeks after lockdown was brought in, Scotland relaxes the rules on outdoor activity from tomorrow.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the aim was to help the nation with ‘family, friendships and love’.

From tomorrow the regulations on meeting other people in Scotland will be changed.

It allows one household to meet another household outside in parks or gardens.

The total number of people gathering should be a maximum of eight with people advised to keep numbers lower if possible, she said.

It comes as Friday in Oban is forecast to be wall-to-wall sunshine with temperatures expected to climb to 22C (71F) with a moderate breeze, and Saturday and Sunday is expected to be dry too.

Mrs Sturgeon said people should ‘always meet outdoors’ and always keep two-metres away from the other household.

‘We are not saying you must pick one household and only meet the same one but we are saying that you should not meet with more than one other household at a time,’ she said.

‘This will not be the law – but we strongly recommend you do not meet with more than one other household per day.’

‘I expect many of you will be planning a picnic or barbecue this weekend. If you are should you not only stay two-metres apart but each household should bring its own food, cutlery, plates and cups – don’t share and please don’t go indoors. Avoid touching the same hard surfaces they do.’

SPORT & RECREATION

Some ‘non-contact outdoor leisure activities’ can restart from Friday such as golf, tennis, bowls and fishing, along with those where people can safely keep a two-metre distance, Nicola Sturgeon said.

Sitting and sunbathing in parks and ‘open areas’ is also back from Friday.

People will be able to travel ‘preferably by walking or cycling,’ she said, to a location ‘near’ their local community.

She said: ‘We are not setting a fixed distance limit in law but our strong advice is not to travel further than about five miles for leisure or recreation. And it’s still the case you should not go to our island communities except for essential reasons.’

She added: ‘We simply don’t want, in this phase, to see large numbers of people at tourist hotspots or local beautyspots.

‘Crowds of people, even if they are trying to socially distance, bring more risk than we judge is acceptable and safe at this point.

‘We are asking you, for now, to please stay within or close to your own local area and don’t use public transport unless it is absolutely necessary,’ said the First Minister.

GARDEN CENTRES AND BUSINESSES

Garden centres and nurseries can reopen, most outdoor work put on hold can resume and the construction industry can also restart ‘site preparation,’ said the First Minister.

Drive-thru food outlets can reopen but non-essential shops, and pubs, restaurants and cafes, must remain closed, unless they are doing takeaways, she said.

Household waste refuse tips will also reopen from Monday.

‘We continue to ask other business premises to remain closed at this stage unless providing essential goods and services and we ask all businesses to let staff work from home wherever possible,’ she said.

‘As long as people from different households remain two-metres apart, don’t touch the same surfaces and wash hands and surfaces regularly, the risk of the virus spreading in an outdoors environment is lower than it is indoors.’

She pledged that the economy would be restarted ‘as quickly as possible’.

THE VULNERABLE

There was a special message for those ‘shielding’ and most at risk from the virus who have been advised to stay inside for nearly three months.

These include people with serious illnesses like cancer or chest conditions such as severe asthma and COPD or heart disease, among others.

‘I know that listening to today’s changes which don’t yet bring a change to your own circumstances will be particularly hard for you,’ said the First Minister.

‘I want to assure you that we will be providing you with more information and guidance in the next couple of weeks and we will be trying, as far as possible, as far as is safe, to move to less of a blanket approach.’

‘I want you to know today that you have not been forgotten.’

MONDAY

Teachers and other staff can enter school to prepare for reopening of all schools on August 11.

WEDNESDAY

Child care will again be available to a larger number of children who most need it such as the vulnerable and children of essential workers.

Child-minding services and fully outdoor nursery provision will start to reopen too.

Limits on number of children that can be cared for and guidance for childminders will be issued on Monday, said Mrs Sturgeon.

WEATHER

Saturday and Sunday in Oban is forecast to be dry with a moderate breeze and temperatures of between 21-22C (71F).

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