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Scotland to ease COVID measures from Monday but with 'certain modifications' 

14 July 2021 • Laura Masling

Scotland is to move to level zero of Covid restrictions on 19 July, but mandatory use of face coverings is to remain in place for "some time" and other indicative changes have been put on hold.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the planned easing had to be modified due to the spread of the Delta variant.

The move to level zero means more people will be allowed to meet indoors and attend weddings and funerals.

However, limits on outdoor meetings are to be maintained, and the return of workers to offices is to be delayed.

Ms Sturgeon said "sensible precautions" had to be maintained while the vaccine programme continues.

She said she still hoped Scotland could move beyond level zero from 9 August - the point at which the government aimed to scrap most legal restrictions.

Ministers also plan remove the blanket requirement for close contacts of those who test positive to self-isolate - as long as they have had two doses of vaccine - at that point.

And fully-vaccinated people returning from amber list countries will not need to quarantine as of Monday, as long as they take a test after arrival.

However, the first minister told MSPs that mandatory precautions like the mandatory wearing of face coverings and guidance on ventilation and hand hygiene would remain in place "for some time".

The move to level zero means:

  • Up to eight adults from four households can meet indoors at home, and up to 10 can meet in a pub or restaurant - with no need to pre-book a two-hour slot.
  • Up to 15 people from 15 households can meet outdoors, and up to 200 can attend weddings and funerals.

Plans have, however, been modified in light of high case numbers:

  • Hospitality venues will be required to close at midnight.
  • Some physical distancing rules are to be maintained outdoors, with different groups of 15 required to stay at least 1m (3ft 3in) apart in public spaces - meaning there may be limits on some outdoor events.
  • A "gradual" return to office working was due to be part of the move to level zero, but this has now been put back to 9 August.

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