Scotland’s stay-at-home order is expected to be lifted from April 5th under a phased plan to lift lockdown, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
She told the Scottish Parliament “if all goes according to plan” the country will move back to the levels system of coronavirus restrictions from April 26th, with all council areas moving to Level 3.
This will allow a “phased but significant reopening of the economy, including non essential retail, hospitality and services like gyms and hairdressers”, the First Minister said.
Unveiling the revised road map out of lockdown, Sturgeon told MSPs lockdown would ease in phases, separated by at least three weeks and contingent on suppression of the virus continuing.
The partial return of pupils to schools which took place on Monday was the first phase, she said, with the second set to take place no earlier than March 15th.
This is expected to involve older primary school pupils returning as well as more senior phase pupils in secondary schools, along with an increase in outdoor mixing to four people from two households.
Communal worship, a further extension to outdoor mixing and more freedoms in retail are also hoped to be put in place from April 5th, with Ms Sturgeon saying her “hope and expectation” is the stay at home order will be lifted then and all pupils back at school.
She said she hopes to be able to give more detail in mid-March on the easing of restrictions.
While she said she hoped to give “as much clarity as possible” on Tuesday when she announced the new approach, Ms Sturgeon added she wanted to avoid “giving false assurance or picking arbitrary dates that have no grounding at this stage in any objective assessment”.
She continued: “I am as confident as I can be that the indicative, staged timetable that I have set out today – from now until late April when the economy will start to substantially reopen – is a reasonable one.
“In mid-March – when we have made further progress on vaccines and have greater understanding of the impact of the initial phase of school return – I hope we can set out then more detail of the further reopening that will take place over April and May and into a summer when we hope to be living with much greater freedoms than we are today.”
Travel restrictions in Scotland will remain for “some time yet”, Ms Sturgeon said as she stressed it is important that cases of the virus, particularly of new variants of the virus, were not imported into the country.