Scotland aiming to lift Covid restrictions by 9th August
Scottish Government June 22nd COVID-19 Update
Scotland is aiming to remove all of its major legal Covid restrictions in early August, the first minister has announced.
Nicola Sturgeon was speaking as she confirmed lockdown easing would be paused for three weeks to allow more time for people to be vaccinated.
It means mainland areas will not move to the lowest level zero restrictions until 19 July.
The hope is that the remaining rules will be lifted on 9 August.
Ms Sturgeon said this would allow life in Scotland to return to "almost complete normality".
Below is a summary of what has been announced and key milestones moving forward.
Scottish Chamber of Commerce continues to engage with the Scottish Government on outstanding issues such as business support and international travel.
- The Scottish Government now expect all of Scotland to move to Level 0 on the 19th of July.
- Subject to further confirmation but it is expected that physical distancing restrictions will be removed completely outdoors on 19th July and move to 1 metre indoors.
- Some "minor" changes will be phased in before this - removing staff and suppliers of wedding services from the cap on numbers at services from Monday and allowing live entertainment at receptions, and allowing people from more than one household to help carry a coffin at a funeral.
- A phased return to offices can begin form the 19th of July, SG will encourage a hybrid approach, expected to encourage consultation between employers and employees, FM has encouraged a phased approach based on employee needs.
- It is expected that life beyond Level 0 will take place from 9th August, where all restrictions will be removed, but will be based on over 40s being double vaccinated and alleviating other covid harms.
- The move to level zero will increase the number of people who are allowed to meet up indoors, cut the requirement for physical distancing indoors from 2m (6.5ft) to 1m (3.2ft), and increase the number of people allowed to attend wedding and funerals to 200.
Below are links to the Physical Distancing Review and Revised Strategic Framework publications, published today by the Scottish Government.
Following the First Minister’s statement to the Scottish Parliament this afternoon updating on the future of Covid-19 restrictions, Dr Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:
“This is the moment businesses have been waiting for and they can finally breathe a sigh of relief that Scotland is now on the path to the lifting of all restrictions from the 9th of August.
“We are firmly heading in the right direction which will allow businesses to plan ahead and we must now all do what we can to ensure the plan is implemented without the need for further delay.
“Businesses fully acknowledge the rising case numbers and the need to vaccinate more people before further re-opening and we welcome the move towards the suppression of the virus to a manageable level whilst balancing the impact on our economy. This will allow businesses to trade more openly and enable the economy to start recovering and rebuilding.
“However, as long as restrictions remain in place, it is essential that the Scottish and UK Government’s continue to provide focused and targeted financial support as well as supporting businesses in the longer-term as they recover from this unprecedented period of economic disruption.”
On the re-opening of non-essential offices and business travel:
“Office-based businesses had been crying out for clarity on when we can get back to business. Now, we have a clear timeline, we can plan in partnership with our employees how and when we will be returning to our offices.
“Re-opening of offices will benefit employee morale and mental health and allow businesses to consult with staff on increased flexibility in the workplace to tackle inequalities, attract talent and retain skills in the economy.
“The removal of restrictions on business travel will also drive-up confidence and crucially bring business travel in line with leisure travel, making it easier for businesses to operate across Scotland.”
On international travel:
“Scotland’s tourism sector, which supports so many jobs and businesses in every part of Scotland, has been one of the hardest hits by the restrictions on international travel and the business community need greater detail on when our borders will re-open and Scotland will start welcoming international visitors again.
“We would urge the UK, Scottish and other Governments to work together, in a four nations approach, to allow international travel to return safely and as quickly as possible. In the intervening period they should bring forward a package of tailored financial support, including extension of the furlough scheme to support Scotland’s aviation and tourism sectors whilst restrictions on international travel remain.”
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