Nicola Sturgeon finally reopens Scotland’s shops and pubs – two weeks after England

Nicola Sturgeon confirms planned lifting of Scottish restrictions

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Nicola Sturgeon confirmed Scotland would be moving down to level three restrictions after a dramatic fall in cases and deaths for the country. But while Britons have been making the most of the warm weather and reopened pubs, Scots on the other hand are not permitted to buy alcohol from hospitality venues and a curfew will be put in place. The First Minister revealed two people have died in the past 24 hours from coronavirus with 178 positive cases as she hopes more restrictions will be lifted on May 17. 

Ms Sturgeon revealed during a press conference that Scotland would be placed in level three restrictions on April 26 which follows their planned roadmap.

The new rules include all shops reopening, some hospitality venues to serve indoors, gyms and pools reopening and other lifting of restrictions.

But in a hammer blow to hospitality, Scottish hospitality venues will be prevented from selling alcohol and will be required to close early – harking back to lockdown restrictions before Christmas last year.

International travel remains banned as the First Minister reiterated the dangers of foreign variants entering the country.

Hospitality venues will also be required to display their capacity on their doors which is an addition from previous level three rules.

One metre distancing will remain as will the rule of six and two household indoor rule.

Lateral flow tests will also be made available to Scots from April 26 as part of the Government’s plan to introduce twice-weekly testing for the UK population. 

Ms Sturgeon also urged Scots to return to work if they were not required to shield. 

She said: “From next Monday, the Chief Medical Officer’s advice will be that people on the shielding list can return to the workplace – if you cannot work from home. Like everyone else, if you can work from home for now, you should.

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“In addition, from next Monday, children who have been shielding can return to school. The last few months have been difficult for everyone – but have been especially difficult for people who are shielding.”

She also added: “Please be careful, the virus hasn’t gone away – we have suppressed it. We are vaccinating to give more protection.”

But publicans in Scotland have blasted Nicola Sturgeon for punishing hospitality venues by preventing them from fully opening up. 

Landlord Stephen Montgomery told BBC News: “We would love to be opening up at the same time as our colleagues down south.

“We’re going to be seeing people jump the border… for that long-awaited pint of cold beer while we still remain closed.”

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Local travel restrictions will also be lifted within the UK meaning those from England, Wales and Northern Ireland can travel into Scotland. 

However, restrictions may be put in place if there is a flare-up in infections. 

In the UK, nearly 33 million people have received their first vaccine as the country eased lockdown restrictions on April 12. 

Unlike Scotland, pubs in England are able to serve alcohol providing they are seated socially distanced outside. 

Over 2.7 million people have received their first jab in Scotland.  

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