Scotland eases lockdown measures TODAY

Bonnie day for a BBQ? Scotland eases lockdown measures TODAY meaning up to four adults from two households can meet socially in private gardens (but remember to bring an umbrella)

  • Gatherings can take place in any outdoor space, including private gardens 
  • Nicola Sturgeon announced a ‘cautious acceleration’ of her roadmap this week 
  • Scots taking advantage of their newfound freedoms will have to bring a coat 

Scotland’s lockdown was further eased today as four adults from two households were allowed to meet outside.

Gatherings can take place in any outdoor space, including private gardens, after Nicola Sturgeon announced a ‘cautious acceleration’ of her roadmap this week.

Children aged 12-17 will also be able to meet in groups of four, but they do not all have to come from just two households. 

But Scots taking advantage of their newfound freedoms will have to bring a coat – as downpours are forecast throughout the day.

Announcing the easing on Tuesday, the First Minister said: ‘We realise that meeting up – even outdoors – even in Scotland – can be hugely beneficial for our wellbeing.’

Gatherings can take place in any outdoor space, including private gardens, after Nicola Sturgeon announced a ‘cautious acceleration’ of her roadmap this week

Outdoor non-contact sports and exercise in groups of up to 15 will also be allowed to resume today.

Travel rules have also been stretched so children can stray outside of their local area for sport.

Ms Sturgeon’s accelerated roadmap puts Scotland further down the path of lockdown loosening that counterparts south of the border.

Unlike Boris Johnson, she is also prepared to tweak her blueprint if the data allows for a quicker reopening. 

People in England will have to wait until March 29, when six people will be allowed to meet outside. 

Marking the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organisation declaring Covid-19 a pandemic, Ms Sturgeon said there were grounds for optimism.

She said yesterday: ‘The last 12 months have been incredibly tough – unimaginably tough for everybody.

‘But as I indicated on Tuesday, we do now have real grounds for optimism, albeit cautious optimism.

‘Case numbers, hospitalisations and deaths have all fallen in recent weeks and when we publish the latest estimate of the R number later today we expect it to show that it remains below one.

‘And, of course, the vaccination programme has given a first dose to 40 per cent of the entire adult population and it is set to significantly accelerate over the next few weeks.’ 

Drinks are passed through a hatch at a Caffe Nero in Stirling earlier this week

She told MSPs the Scottish Government ‘will go ahead as planned with the next stage of the reopening of schools on Monday’.

She added: ‘In addition, changes to the rules on outdoor meetings and activities which I set out on Tuesday will come into force tomorrow and, as I have indicted, next Tuesday I will provide more information about our plans for the phased reopening of the economy.’

This will take into account the positive news but will also acknowledge the risks faced by new variants, she said.

Tuesday will also see changes announced to the levels system of coronavirus restrictions, which is due to come into force from the end of April.

The First Minister added the vaccination programme is set to significantly accelerate over the next few weeks.

As of Thursday morning, she said 1,825,800 people have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, up 16,642 from yesterday, and 141,433 have received their second dose.  

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