July 19 will see Scotland’s further coronavirus restrictions eased.
Addressing Scottish Parliament last week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the news that’s been expected: that July 19 will go ahead as planned. All of Scotland will therefore move down to Level 0 of coronavirus restrictions, which will allow the limits on household gatherings to increase and the social distancing requirement to be reduced from two metres to one metre indoors. Whilst it’s a big step forward towards normality, Nicola Sturgeon said it is a “time of continued caution”.
The First Minister began her statement stating that the mandatory wearing of face coverings will continue after Scotland moves to Level 0 next week. She said this move will offer protection to those who are vulnerable who previously had to shield and that “lifting all restrictions right now would put all of us at greater risk.”
Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the move for all parts of Scotland to the lowest level of restrictions from July 19, however she announced certain modifications which would applied consistently across the country. Some of the key points highlighted in the First Minister’s statement were changes to the limits on household gatherings, which will see up to eight people from four households be able to meet indoors.
From July 19, up to 10 people from four households will be able to meet in an indoor public place such as restaurants and bars, as well as groups of up to 15 people from 15 households being able to meet outdoors (but children under 12 already don’t count towards the total number of people). There will also be no requirement for groups of 15 people to socially-distance in an outdoor public place, however for “precautionary reasons” the First Minister said a one-metre distance rule will apply between different groups of 15 outdoors. The two-metre rule will also be reduced to one metre within an indoor public setting.
In addition, hospitality will see some changes as the country enters Level 0, such as a two-hour pre-booking slot no longer being required. However, customers will still be required to provide contact details and wear face coverings when not seated. Hospitality venues will also be required to close at midnight under Level 0, as opposed to local licensing rules. Nicola Sturgeon said that indoor hospitality, despite the sector’s “sterling efforts” does remain a relatively “risky environment” particularly late at night and by closing at midnight this should “help mitigate some of that additional risk.”
Other changes such as capacity limits will be enforced from July 19 including up to 200 people able to attend weddings and funerals. Capacity limits will also will increase for large events with those taking place outdoors and seated rising to 2000, outdoors and standing to 1000, and indoor events to 400 people.
The First Minister added in her statement that when Scotland moves beyond Level 0 those who have received two doses of the vaccine who are close contacts of someone with Covid-19 will no longer have to self isolate. This is providing at least two weeks having passed since the second dose – and the individual takes a PCR test that comes back with a negative result. Quarantine will also be removed for Scottish holidaymakers arriving from amber list countries from July 19, but passengers must be double vaccinated.
Given the current sitiation, Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish government intends to postpone the date in which working from home will no longer be required. This is now expected to come once the country moves beyond Level 0 on August 9, in order to help contain transmission.
More of the government’s guidance on Covid-19 restrictions can be found on their website here.