Europe

Scotland Covid rules: The two differences to Boris Johnson’s plan

Nicola Sturgeon announces ease on Scotland restrictions

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With restrictions easing in Scotland on the same day as they are practically done away with in England, Nicola Sturgeon warned that “lifting all restrictions and mitigations right now would put all of us at greater risk – but in particular it would make it much more difficult for the most clinically vulnerable to go about their normal lives”. All of Scotland will move to Level 0 on July 19, albeit with modified restrictions in place.

The First Minister said it remained her Government’s expectation that by August 9 it would be possible to move “beyond Level 0”.

She added: “As with today’s decisions, we will assess the data before coming to a final decision nearer the time, and I will provide a further update to parliament in the week before August 9.”

Ms Sturgeon told the Scottish parliament on Tuesday that the latest coronavirus wave appears to be levelling off after a dramatic increase in cases.

But the UK Government in charge of England’s response to the pandemic seems content with easing restrictions fully, despite heading the warning from scientists there could be 100,000 cases per day.

Speaking at a Downing Street news conference, Boris Johnson said it was “absolutely vital that we proceed now with caution”.

He said: “I cannot say this powerfully or emphatically enough: this pandemic is not over.

“This disease, coronavirus, continues to carry risks for you and your family.

“We cannot simply revert instantly, from Monday July 19, to life as it was before COVID.”

Face masks

The First Minister has decided face masks will remain mandatory in Scotland for longer than they will in England.

She said measures such as the continued wearing of face coverings were important, “not just to give added protection to the population as a whole, but also to give protection and assurance to those amongst us who are particularly vulnerable and previously had to shield”.

Mr Johnson has moved from making face masks mandatory to making them “encouraged”, in a shift from state responsibility to personal responsibility over the spread of Covid-19.

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Meeting restrictions and hospitality

There will still be some restrictions on how many people can meet in Scotland, whereas all limits on socialising will be lifted in England from July 19.

In Scotland, up to eight people from up to four households can meet indoors at home and up to 10 people from up to four households can meet in a public indoor space, such as a pub or restaurant.

Up to 15 people from up to 15 households can meet outdoors, whether in a private garden or public place.

Children under the age of 12 will not count towards the total number of people or households.

For events such as weddings and funerals, up to 200 people will be allowed to attend events and associated parties such as receptions and wakes.

Furthermore, limits on the size of events and stadium events will increase outdoors to 2,000 seated and 1,000 standing, and indoors to 400.

Scotland’s hospitality venues have been forced to shutter their doors at 10.30am for a number of months now.

This will change to midnight from July 19, whereas in England there are no restrictions on how late a venue can stay open.

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