Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has told the Scottish Parliament that she plans to lift restrictions gradually, with ‘more substantial’ plans to come from the end of April onwards.
Ms Sturgeon said the last week of April should see a ‘phased but significant re-opening of the economy’.
She told SMPs that if the data allowed her to move quicker, then she will, but like Boris Johnson, she will be led by ‘data not dates’.
Like the PM, she has said Scotland plans to speed up its vaccine rollout, with the country now planning to offer first jabs to everyone over 18 by the end of July. However unlike Boris, Ms Sturgeon has not revealed a target for the end of all restrictions.
This includes non-essential retail, hospitality and services such as gyms and hairdressers.
She added: ‘Of course, the more of us who are vaccinated and the more we all stick by the rules now, the faster that safe pace is likely to be – if we all stay in this together, our progress will be greater.’
Phase 1 (began yesterday) early learning, childcare and schools open for Primary 1-3 pupils and senior phase pupils for essential practical work. Limited increase in the provision for vulnerable children. Care homes opening to facilitate meaningful contact between relatives/ friends and residents.
Phase 2 (unlikely before 15 March) – More school reopening – Non-contact outdoor group sports for 12-17 year olds. Socialising rules eased, to allow outdoor meetings of 4 people from 2 households.
Phase 3 – (at least three weeks later – possibly 5 April) Stay-at-Home requirement removed. Third and final phase of schools reopening if required. Places of worship can open on a restricted numbers basis. Essential retailers list expanded slightly and click-and-collect resumes for non-essential retail.
Phase 4 – (possibly 26 April) Limited other easing within Level 4, including permitting non-essential work in people’s homes. Return to variable Levels approach. This will enable the gradual opening up of economic and social activity.
Ms Sturgeon added: ‘It is important to stress, of course, that all of this depends on us continuing to suppress the virus now – and continuing to accept some trade-offs for a period, for example on international travel. However, if we do so, I am optimistic that we can make good progress in returning more normality to our lives and the economy.’