Lockdown to ease across most of Scotland but some areas retain tougher measures

An advertising board in Glasgow
An advertising board in Glasgow (PA Wire)
15:23pm, Tue 01 Jun 2021
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Covid-19 restrictions will be eased in parts of Scotland on Saturday, but much of the country will retain tougher measures due to spikes in cases of the virus, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister updated MSPs in the Scottish Parliament on coronavirus restrictions.

She said parts of Scotland could move from Level 2 to Level 1 of the five tiers of restrictions, which run from 0-4.

Covid-19 case rates in UK nations (PA Graphics)

But Edinburgh and Midlothian, Dundee, East Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, the three Ayrshire areas, North and South Lanarkshire and Clackmannanshire and Stirling will remain in Level 2.

Glasgow, which was kept in Level 3 when measures eased in the rest of the country on May 17, will move to Level 2 on Saturday, with Ms Sturgeon saying the outbreak there had stabilised with case numbers falling slightly.

Glaswegians will be able to drink alcohol indoors, meet in private residences, and hug loved ones from the weekend.

Those in Level 1 areas can meet outside and indoors in public places in larger groups.

Numbers at events, weddings and funerals can also increase, and pubs can open slightly later indoors.

Soft play centres and funfairs can also reopen.

Meanwhile, Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles council areas will move to Level 0, allowing larger groups to meet in a private residence and adult contact sport to return.

Scotland currently has the highest rate of new cases of Covid-19 of the four nations of the UK.

But Ms Sturgeon said there are “many parts of mainland Scotland where cases are at very low levels and broadly stable or where case numbers might appear to be rising, but we are assured that they relate to clusters that are being managed”.

She said vaccinations are “opening the path to a less restrictive way of dealing with Covid – one less driven by case numbers”, but that we are “not quite there yet”.

Explaining why some parts of the country would not move to Level 1, she told MSPs there could even be an argument to move these areas into Level 3 restrictions, but the vaccination programme meant this could be avoided.

“However, it is important to stress that this is a pause, not a step backwards,” the First Minister said.

“And Level 2 is not lockdown. It does have an impact on opening hours of pubs and restaurants and the numbers that can attend certain events.”

She added: “And taking a cautious approach now – while more people get fully vaccinated – gives us the best chance of staying on the right track overall.”

The First Minister urged people in Glasgow to remain cautious as cases are still high there.

“In particular – and this actually applies to all of Scotland, particularly while we enjoy some better weather – although limited indoor meetings are now possible, it is still better to stay outdoors where possible,” she said.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross previously said areas should not be left behind if restrictions are relaxed.

Scottish Parliamentary Elections 2021

He said: “Everyone understands that there will be a need for local, targeted measures when an outbreak occurs.

“But leaving behind whole areas should be ruled out. Sweeping measures that unnecessarily hurt a whole city or council area are unfair on businesses and local people waiting to get on with their lives.”

Mr Ross argued: “Selectively imposing restrictions and targeting resources at smaller areas is entirely possible. The blanket council-wide approach is not the only plausible option.

“The one-size-fits-all approach should be replaced by targeted interventions to tackle local outbreaks.”

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