Scotland relaxes Covid rules: People can travel outside their local areas

Scots were enjoying greater freedoms today after Nicola Sturgeon accelerated the country’s roadmap thanks to a steep drop in coronavirus cases. 

Groups of six adults from six households can now meet outside, and travel restrictions have been dropped.

It means people can cross local authority boundaries to see family and friends for socialising, recreation and exercise.

But they must still follow the ‘stay local’ rules for other purposes such as non-essential shopping, and travel to some islands remains banned. 

The First Minister on Tuesday announced that this easing of lockdown would be brought forward 10 days early because of falling infections and the successful vaccine rollout.

In contrast, Boris Johnson has resisted calls to lift restrictions faster in England and is sticking staunchly to his roadmap dates.  

Scots were enjoying greater freedoms today after Nicola Sturgeon (pictured getting her jab yesterday) accelerated the country's roadmap thanks to a steep drop in coronavirus cases

Scots were enjoying greater freedoms today after Nicola Sturgeon (pictured getting her jab yesterday) accelerated the country's roadmap thanks to a steep drop in coronavirus cases

Scots were enjoying greater freedoms today after Nicola Sturgeon (pictured getting her jab yesterday) accelerated the country’s roadmap thanks to a steep drop in coronavirus cases

Groups of six adults from six households can now meet outside, and travel restrictions have been dropped

Groups of six adults from six households can now meet outside, and travel restrictions have been dropped

Groups of six adults from six households can now meet outside, and travel restrictions have been dropped

Scotland’s easing comes after barbers and hairdressers opened on April 5 and ahead of a more substantial unlocking of the country on April 26.

On that date, Scotland will move from Level 4 to Level 3 of the four-tier system of restrictions.

Cafes, restaurants and beer gardens can then reopen, along with shops, gyms, libraries and museums.

Travel between Scotland, England and Wales will be permitted and tourist accommodation can welcome back visitors.

Other restrictions will ease in May and over the summer if Covid-19 continues to be suppressed.

Announcing the measures on Tuesday, Ms Sturgeon said: ‘We have always said we will keep plans under review and accelerate the lifting of restrictions if possible.

‘The improved data does not allow us to throw caution to the wind – not if we are sensible – but it does give us a bit of limited headroom.

‘So from the end of this week, you will be able to meet up with family and friends who live in different parts of the country.

‘Many of those reunions will be long-awaited, and much anticipated. Please do remember that meetings at this stage must still be outdoors – you cannot socialise in people’s homes – and remember due to physical distancing, public transport capacity remains relatively limited.’

The seafront at South Queensferry is busy with people after lockdown was eased earlier this month

The seafront at South Queensferry is busy with people after lockdown was eased earlier this month

The seafront at South Queensferry is busy with people after lockdown was eased earlier this month

But on Thursday, the First Minister said while it was ‘positive’ that the easing of travel restrictions had been brought forward, but cautioned Scots not to allow their guard to drop.

‘What I would say to people is enjoy it, we’ve waited a long time, it’s been really tough, but please, please be careful,’ she said.

‘Don’t go to crowded places, if you’re headed to a beach or a park and it’s crowded please come away again because crowded places are not safe places to be.

‘Please stick to all of the rules and advice, remember your face covering, remember, as I say, to avoid crowded places, hand hygiene, keep your two metre distancing.’

The First Minister added: ‘As long as we all stick to the advice that’s still in place, this easing of restrictions tomorrow should be the first of many and I think, not least because of the vaccine programme, we can all afford to be just that bit more optimistic right now.’

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