Return of hugs and indoor visits

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she felt ‘a wee bit emotional’ when she announced on Tuesday that, from Monday May 17, as long as they stay within permitted limits, people will be allowed to hug their loved ones again.

In the most significant relaxation of the Covid-19 rules this year, the first minister said much of mainland Scotland would move down to level two from Monday.

That will allow the number of people who can meet outdoors to rise to eight people from up to eight households, and up to six people from up to three households will be able to meet in each others’ homes, including overnight stays.

Providing people stay within those numbers indoors, it will ‘no longer be necessary to maintain physical distancing,’ the first minister said.

Alcohol will be permitted to be served indoors up until 10.30pm from Monday and venues including cinemas and concert halls can also reopen.

Amateur performing arts groups can perform outdoors initially and outdoor adult contact sport can also resume. More than one person can sing during religious services but congregational singing is still not yet permitted.

However, the first minister stressed that it was vital to remain cautious and guard against Covid-19 as people could still be vulnerable and advised people to limit the amount of people with whom they have close physical contact.