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Scotland to ease lockdown measures but masks still mandatory

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Lockdown restrictions will be eased in Scotland from Monday - but certain measures such as mandatory face coverings will remain.

Speaking at a virtual meeting of the Scottish parliament, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed Scotland will move to Level 0 on 19 July, but that original plans have been modified due to the spread of the Delta variant.

She said the government was “easing restrictions next week” but “not abandoning them”.

From Monday, up to eight people from up to four households can meet indoors at home and up to 10 people from up to four households can meet in a public indoor space – such as a pub or restaurant.

A maximum of 15 people from up to 15 households can meet outdoors – whether in a private garden or public place.

However, Sturgeon said the wearing of face masks will remain mandatory “not just now but, in all likelihood, for some time to come”.

She said face coverings gave added protection to “the population as a whole”, as well as “protection and assurance” to the vulnerable.

Guidance to work from home where possible will also remain in place until the country moves beyond Level 0, which Sturgeon hopes will be on 9 August.

Sturgeon said: “While Scotland will move to Level 0 from next Monday, we will do so with certain modifications to our original indicative plans. This is intended to ensure that our pace of easing restrictions is sensible in light of the challenge we continue to face from the Delta variant.

“There is no doubt that Delta has become, unfortunately, something of a game-changer – even for countries on course to achieving full vaccine protection – so Covid does remain a threat that we must treat seriously.

“The Scottish Government understands the temptation to lift more restrictions more quickly. In our view, and in line with clinical advice and modelling, a gradual approach stands the best chance of minimising further health harm and loss of life – and also because a gradual approach stands the best chance of being a sustainable approach, it will be better in the long term for the economy as well.”

Other changes under Level 0:
• Up to 200 people can attend weddings and funerals
• under-12s will no longer count towards the number of households that can gather indoors in public spaces and homes
• hospitality settings can open till midnight and customers will no longer be required to pre-book a two-hour slot to go to a pub or restaurant but will still be required to provide contact details to assist Test & Protect
• self-isolation will no longer be required for people arriving from countries on the amber list, provided they are fully vaccinated and take a PCR test on the second day after arrival

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