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Coronavirus / Indoor visits now allowed as government speeds up easing of lockdown

AS THE country moves toward phase three of the gradual lifting of lockdown measures, indoor meetings with a limited number of people adhering to social distancing will be allowed again from tomorrow (Friday) onwards.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon giving an update on the easing of lockdown measures to parliament.

In a statement to parliament on Thursday first minister Nicola Sturgeon said the prevalence of the Covid-19 virus has been suppressed to a low level with an average of seven new cases every day. There were no Covid-19 deaths reported over the last 24 hours.

Sturgeon said the changes announced by her constitute the most significant – and therefore most risky – change in the gradual process of lockdown easing.

While pleased to be able to announce a range of measures, she reiterated that sticking to the general hygiene measures – washing hands regularly and thoroughly, keeping two-metre distance wherever possible – was more important than ever before.

As of Friday 10 July:

  • A maximum of 15 people from no more than five households can meet outdoors;
  • No more than eight people from three households (including the host household) can meet indoors;
  • People who are shielding don’t need to stay distant from those in the same household any longer;
  • Also, couples who don’t live together will not longer physically distance;
  • Exemptions from the two metre physical distancing rule will be introduced where agreed with the government;
  • The wearing of face masks in shops becomes mandatory.

As of Monday 13 July:

  • Non-essential shops within retail shopping centres can reopen again;
  • Eye-care and some dental treatment for registered patients can resume but not aerosol based treatment,
  • Organised outdoor contact sports, play and physical activity can also resume for children and young people under 18.

On Wednesday 15 July:

  • Indoor restaurants can re-open as can holiday accommodation;
  • Childcare and hairdressers can reopen their businesses;
  • Places of worship can re-open for congregational services
  • Museums, galleries, libraries and cinemas are allowed to re-open again with safety measures in place.

A spokesperson for Shetland Arts said the agency had been aware of the possible changes with regards to re-opening cinemas but decided to stick their own phased opening programme as published earlier this week with Mareel’s cinemas set to open again on 31 August.

An overview of what scaling up phase three means for various sectors can be found in the graphic below.

A more detailed update has just been published by the Scottish Government on its website.