Significant easing of restrictions across retail, hospitality and travel

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Want to read more?

We value our content and access to our full site is only available on subscription. Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device In addition your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards.

Already a subscriber?
Subscribe Now

In the latest phase in easing Scotland’s coronavirus lockdown rules, the country will move from level four to level three restrictions.

From Monday April 26, hospitality venues such as cafés, pubs and restaurants can reopen, along with tourist accommodation.

Non-essential retail outlets and close-contact services such as beauty salons can also reopen, in addition to indoor attractions and public buildings such as galleries, museums and libraries.

Remaining travel restrictions within Scotland will be lifted and travel within the UK will be permitted for any purpose.

In addition:

  • adults on the shielding list can return to the workplace, if they cannot work from home, while children who have been shielding can return to school;
  • non-essential work inside people’s homes – such as painting, decorating or repairing – will be permitted, subject to mitigations;
  • non-essential informal childcare will resume;
  • driving lessons and tests can take place, while gyms and swimming pools can reopen for individual exercise;
  • the attendance limit for funerals and weddings – and related events such as receptions – will increase to 50;
  • cafés, pubs and restaurants can resume full outdoor service, subject to local licensing, and serve food indoors without alcohol until 8pm;
  • takeaways to resume normal service, with physical distancing and face masks in premises.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also announced that rapid Covid-19 tests will be made available to anyone in Scotland and to those planning travel to the islands and, from Monday, lateral flow home test kits will be available to anyone in the wider population who does not have Covid-19 symptoms.

They can be picked up from local walk/drive-through test sites for people to test themselves twice-weekly.

The first minister said: ‘The changes that come into force next week have been hard earned by all of us. I know that many will be looking forward – quite rightly – to their first drink in a beer garden, to catching up with a friend in a café, or to going on holiday somewhere in Scotland.

‘But even as we enjoy those moments, we still need to be careful. We must remember the virus is more infectious now than it was when bars and cafés were last open, so we must still stick to the rules. However, we are hopeful of seeing sustained progress in the weeks and months ahead.

‘We are keeping island communities in level three at the moment, so that we can allow travel between those communities and the rest of Scotland.

‘If you are planning to travel to an island and do not have Covid-19 symptoms, we will encourage you to take two lateral flow tests for Covid-19 before you depart. This is an important way to reduce the risk of bringing Covid-19 into island communities.’

The first minister added that Scotland would move to level two on Monday May 17, provided the pandemic situation continues to improve.