Covid in Scotland: What rules are changing, and when?

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Scotland is continuing on its path out of lockdown. Some restrictions have already been eased and the Scottish government's timetable sets out the plans for further relaxation in the coming weeks and months.

Here are details of the most recent changes - and dates for when more of the current rules will be relaxed.

16 April - Travel restrictions lifted and more people can meet up

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image captionPeople can now meet in groups of up to six adults from six households in outdoor settings

People are now allowed to meet in groups of up to six adults from six households in outdoor settings.

In addition, people are permitted to travel across Scotland as long as they do not stay overnight.

However, while travel is permitted for outdoor socialising, recreation and exercise, people must continue to stay local for other purposes such as non-essential shopping or attending hair appointments.

These changes had not been due to come into force until 26 April but the Scottish government said they were being made earlier than originally planned in an effort to boost people's mental health and wellbeing.

What about travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK?

People should not travel between Scotland and England at the moment unless their journeys are essential.

The Scottish government has said non-essential journeys to other parts of the UK and the wider common travel area should be allowed from 26 April, if the data permits.

19 April - All schools reopen

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image captionSenior pupils returned part-time to class in mid-March

Virtually all pupils will return to school full time after the Easter holidays.

Some council areas, such as Fife, are already back from the holidays with the rest returning from 19 April.

The only exception is for those in the shielding category, who must stay at home until 26 April.

Secondary school pupils will no longer have to follow strict two metre physical distancing rules when they return, but they must wear face coverings at all times.

All primary school pupils had returned full-time by mid March, but before the Easter break secondary pupils were taught using blended learning - a mix of home and classroom study.

Late April - Shops, gyms and beer gardens

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image captionThe reopening of beer gardens across Scotland is scheduled to take place from 26 April

All remaining shops and close contact services like nail salons are due to reopen on 26 April.

Pubs, bars, cafés, restaurants and bars will be able to serve people outdoors - in groups of up to six from six households - until 22:00 from that date. Alcohol will be permitted, and there will be no requirement for food to be served.

Takeaways will be able to resume normal service, with physical distancing and face masks worn in premises

There will also be a partial resumption of indoor hospitality - food and non-alcoholic drinks can be served until 20:00 for groups of up to six people from no more than six households. Contact details will still need to be collected.

Indoor gyms and swimming pools will be allowed to open for individual exercise, driving lessons and tests will take place, and non-essential work in people's homes can resume.

Scotland will return to a levels system, with the entire country initially moving to a modified version of the current level three restrictions.

Island communities - which have been in level three for some time - will stay in the same level as the mainland at first to allow people to travel between areas.

Tourist accommodation, museums, galleries, libraries can also open from this date.

The number of people allowed to attend a wedding or funeral rises to 50.

People on the shielding list will be able to return to work, college, school or nursery.

Mid-May - Cinemas, bingo and meeting up indoors

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image captionCinemas, bingo halls and amusement arcades can reopen from 17 May

Three weeks later, on 17 May it is hoped most, if not all, council areas will be able to move from level three to level two, allowing much more normality.

People should at last be allowed to meet up inside others' homes (although this could happen sooner) - initially in groups of up to four people from no more than two households.

Indoor hospitality is expected to resume with alcohol being served and pubs or restaurants allowed to stay open until 22:30 with two-hour time-limited booking slots.

Cinemas, bingo halls and amusement arcades can now reopen.

Outdoor and indoor events such as concerts can also restart, but capacity may be limited initially.

Restrictions on meeting up outdoors will ease further. Adult outdoor contact sports and indoor group exercises can resume.

More students will be back at university or college but with blended learning continuing. Face-to-face support services such as counselling can take place.

Early June - Almost back to normal

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image captionThere is still uncertainty as to when overseas travel restrictions will be eased

The hope is that from 1 June, all of Scotland can move to level one - and by the end of the month to level zero, the lowest category of the five tier system.

In early June it is hoped up to six people from three households can socialise indoors, at home or in a public place.

Outside up to eight people from three households can meet while for 12 to 17-year-olds the limit on the number of households rises to eight.

Hospitality will be able to stay open until 23:00 and the number of constraints on events such as concerts will be relaxed.

Indoor non-contact sport will resume. Casinos, funfairs and soft play can re-open.

The risk of importing new variants of Covid means a big question mark hangs over non-essential international travel, for instance for holidays.

It will almost certainly not be allowed before mid-May, and the government warns it may not resume for some time after that.

When it is allowed, pre-departure and post-arrival testing will remain a requirement.

From the end of June there will be a phased return of some office staff and increased numbers at places of worship or other events such as weddings.

What's been relaxed already?

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image captionPlaces of worship are open across Scotland but with restrictions such as social distancing measures

Some relaxation of rules took place in early March.

After almost a year of restrictions care home visiting resumed with two designated visited permitted in facilities for both older and younger adults.

Since 12 March up to four adults from two households have been able to meet outdoors, including in private gardens, for recreational purposes as well as exercise. Meeting up indoors is still banned, but visitors can go inside to use the toilet.

While children under 12 were not subject to the previous two-person limit, there is now a relaxation for 12 to 17-year-olds, with four teenagers from four different households permitted to meet outdoors.

Adults are allowed to take part in outdoor non-contact sports and organised group exercise in groups of up to 15 people. This also applies to those aged 12 to 17, who can travel across council boundaries to take part in activities.

Communal worship resumed from Friday 26 March, in time for Passover, Easter, Ramadan and Vaisakhi. Up to 50 people can attend if the place of worship is large enough to facilitate 2m social distancing, an increase from the limit of 20 people which had applied pre-lockdown.

The "stay at home" order was lifted on 2 April, to be replaced by a "stay local" message.

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image captionScotland's hairdressers have been opened up since 5 April

Hairdressers and barbers were then allowed to reopen on 5 April.

A wider range of retailers were also permitted to open from that date - including garden centres. Car showrooms, forecourts and homeware stores are now trading, while click-and-collect resumed for non-essential retail after an 11-week suspension.

Outdoor contact sports for 11 to 17-year-olds have also resumed, and greater numbers of students are allowed to return to university and further education campuses.

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