NICOLA Sturgeon has revealed her lockdown update for Scotland a week before Boris Johnson unveils England’s full roadmap.
But what does today’s announcement mean for the Prime Minister’s blueprint to unlock England, which is due next Monday?
The Scottish First Minister confirmed some children will return to the classroom next week.
Pre-school kids and a limited number of older kids will be able to return from Monday, 22 February – two weeks earlier than in England.
She also said an Easter holiday was very unlikely as hotels won’t be open by then, but a summer staycation in Scotland may be possible.
The SNP leader full plans for lifting lockdown are set to be published next Tuesday, a day after the PM’s roadmap to freedom from Covid restrictions.
BACK TO SCHOOL
Ms Sturgeon revealed today that pre-school kids and some older pupils can return to the classroom from next Monday in Scotland.
Pupils in Primary 1 to Primary 3 and children under school age in early learning and childcare, as well as those in the senior phase of secondary school will be allowed back to school, she said.
No more pupils can return after March 15 so phase one of Scotland’s school reopening can be assessed.
Anyone returning will have access to lateral flow rapid results tests to help kids get back in classrooms.
Schools in England won’t open until at least March 8[/caption]
Schools in England won’t be returning until at least March 8, Boris Johnson has said.
But it’s not yet clear whether it will be all pupils or they will stagger them.
It may be that some kids in key exam years will go back first, followed by others at a later date.
LOCKDOWN COULD BE EXTENDED
Ms Sturgeon warned today that lockdown could be extended for weeks to come.
The First Minister said that lockdown rules, including the stay at home message, would continue until the beginning of March – and possibly even beyond that.
She said: “We need to balance all the different factors and plan a gradual, phased return to as much normality as possible.
“That is what the government is now very much focused on doing.”
Lockdown could be extended, Ms Sturgeon warned today[/caption]
At the moment the UK Government have not said exactly what we will expect next week.
But Boris said yesterday he will include a range of dates for possible openings.
The PM hasn’t yet made any firm decisions, but has said he is looking again at the tier system.
He’s hinted he may lift restrictions across the whole country at once.
This would mean the tiers system may be scrapped regionally, and instead everyone have the same tier across England.
DON’T BOOK EASTER HOLIDAYS
The Scottish Government urged people not to book Easter holidays as hotels won’t be open by then.
Staycations might be on the cards by the summer, but overseas trips probably won’t be.
But Ms Sturgeon said she was unable to confirm yet if that will be possible.
She said: “We are likely to advise against booking Easter holidays, either overseas or within Scotland, as it is highly unlikely that we will have been able to fully open hotels or self-catering accommodation by then.
Ministers are reportedly assessing if self-catered breaks in the UK can start from Easter[/caption]
“However, for the summer, while it is still highly unlikely that overseas holidays will be possible or advisable, staycations might be – but this will depend on the data nearer the time.”
It’s not known what will be announced next week.
But ministers are reportedly assessing if self-catered breaks in the UK for people from one household may be possible in by the Easter holidays, a government source told The Times.
The source said: “There’s an active discussion about how soon we can do it and we’ll be guided by the data.”
SUMMER STAYCATION BOOST
Ms Sturgeon said today it was “highly unlikely” summer trips abroad would be allowed.
But she suggested that summer staycations may be possible, laying open the possibility that Mr Johnson may follow suit next week.
The First Minister “However, for the summer, while it is still highly unlikely that overseas holidays will be possible or advisable, staycations might be – but this will depend on the data nearer the time.
At the start of February, Mr Johnson said he was “optimistic” Britain can have a summer holiday this year – but ONLY if the vaccine rollout continues to go well.
When asked last week if Brits could book a summer staycation “with confidence” he replied: “I don’t want to say much more than I’ve already said about that.
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“I’m hopeful, but it depends on a couple of things: we’ve got to keep the pandemic coming down in the way that it is at the moment, we’ve got to continue the roll-out of the vaccination programme in the successful way that we’re currently seeing.
“But we’ve got to take one thing at a time and just be cautious.”
But Transport Secretary Grant Schapps cautioned last week: “People shouldn’t be booking holidays right now, not domestically or internationally.”
Staycations breaks in the UK could be on for the summer, but Brits have been warned not to book yet[/caption]