Today the FM has set out some limited relaxation to lockdown rules. While these changes are relatively minor, they are important for our wellbeing. They represent a gradual, but steady, steps out of lockdown and back towards a life where we can interact much more freely with our loved ones.

Next week, a firmer indicative timetable will be set out, for re-opening the economy, including shops, hospitality, hairdressers, gyms and parts of our tourism sector.

The ability to announce even limited changes at this stage is possible only because of the hard sacrifices that the majority of people across the country continue to make each and every day. Caution is still essential at this stage. Case numbers, while much lower than at the start of the year, are still high.

Take advantage of the relaxations set out.  But please continue to stay within the rules.

Please, continue to stick with it – stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives.

 Changes to gathering restrictions

  • From Friday, up to 4 adults from up to 2 households will be able to meet outdoors.
  • This will allow for social and recreational purposes, as well as essential exercise.
  • Meeting will be possible in any outdoor space, including private gardens.
  • Should only go indoors if essential in order to reach a back garden, or to use the toilet.
  • Please stay as close to home as possible.  It is hoped that travel restrictions within Scotland, to some extent, in the weeks ahead, but it is not safe to do so just yet.
  • For 12 to 17 year olds, outdoor meetings will also be limited to a maximum of 4 people. But the 2 household limit won’t apply.  That means 4 friends from 4 different families will be able to get together outdoors.
  • We must not meet people from other households indoors

Changes – outdoor exercise and activities

  • From Friday, outdoor non-contact sports and organised group exercise will be permitted for all adults, in groups of up to 15 people.
  • There will be flexibility around the travel rules for young people – so that children are not prevented from taking part in sport, if for example they belong to a club which is a bit outside their local authority area.

Intended changes – communal worship

  • Assuming no deterioration in the situation with the virus between now and then, the Scottish Government intend to allow communal worship to restart from Friday 26 March.
  • This is in time for Passover, Easter, Ramadan and Vaisakhi.
  • The limit on attendance at communal services will be increased from 20, which was the limit in place before lockdown, to 50 – assuming of course that a place of worship is spacious enough to accommodate that many people with 2 metre physical distancing.