Face coverings will still be required in indoor settings beyond Level 0.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that Scotland will lift its coronavirus restrictions and move beyond the current Level 0 rules next week. In a statement this afternoon, she confirmed that from August 9 further freedoms will be permitted such as the reopening of nightclubs and sports stadia and concert venues returning to full capacity.
Nicola Sturgeon announced that no venue will be legally required to close from Monday next week, however she said face coverings should continue to be worn in indoor settings beyond Level 0 restrictions. In addition, Test & Protect will continue to contact-trace positive cases and it will be an ongoing requirement for indoor hospitality and similar venues to collect the contact details of customers.
Despite the First Minister announcing the lifting of most of the remaining legally imposed restrictions such as physical distancing and limits to the size of social gatherings, she said there will be a continued use of travel restrictions and home working will still be advised. These will remain in place “as and when necessary, to restrict the spread of outbreaks and protect against the risk of importation of new variants.”
From August 9, large scale events will be going ahead but will have to apply for permission. Nicola Sturgeon said: “For a limited period, we will keep in place the processes through which organisers of outdoor events of more than 5000 and indoor events of more than 2000 will have to apply for permission. This will allow us and local authorities to be assured of the arrangements in place to reduce risk. ”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told Scottish Parliament that an app is being developed that would allow “Covid status certification” – a so-called Covid passport. She said: “I can also confirm that we continue to consider very carefully the possible, albeit limited, use of Covid status certification for access to certain higher risk venues in future. We are currently developing an app to make access to Covid status certificates – which will include vaccination details – easier for international travel. This will be launched next month.”
In terms of self-isolation beyond Level 0, from August 9, an adult who is identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 will no longer be required automatically to self-isolate for 10 days. If someone is double-vaccinated (with at least two weeks having passed since the second dose) and if they have no symptoms, they should get a PCR test as soon as possible. If the PCR test is negative, self-isolation can then be ended
Young people aged 5 to 17 who are identified as a close contact, will need to take a PCR test, however they can end their self-isolation if they test negative. Children under the age of 5 will be encouraged but not required to take a PCR test. Whole classes will no longer need to isolate after August 9, but face coverings will remain a requirement for staff and students over 12 years old to wear them in schools.
The First Minister ended her statement by saying people still need to be “careful, cautious and sensible”, even as legal restrictions are lifted. She added: “We all hope – I know I certainly do – that the restrictions we lift next Monday will never again have to be reimposed. But no-one can guarantee that.
“This virus remains a threat – and as we enter winter, it may well pose challenges for us again. So as we have done throughout, the government will seek to take whatever action is necessary to keep the country safe. But as has also been the case throughout, we all have a part to play in keeping the virus under control.
“And as always, although counter-intuitive perhaps, it is when we lift restrictions – and inevitably give the virus more opportunities to spread – that it becomes even more important for us to remember the basic actions that can reduce risk.”
The First Minister also confirmed that invitations for vaccines are now going out to 12 to 17-year-olds with specific health conditions that make them more vulnerable to Covid-19, with the first doses expected to be rolled out by the end of August. The Scottish government are hoping to receive in the next few days updated advice from the JCVI on possible vaccination of others in the younger age groups. In addition, they are also preparing to deliver booster jabs during the autumn for those already vaccinated, if that is recommended.
For all guidance and information on Covid-19 restrictions, head to the Scottish Government website here.