How many people can come to my house? Rules on visiting households and private gardens in Scotland - and how to keep safe

The First Minister outlined a number of changes will take effect in Scotland from 10 July, as the country enters phase three

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon outlined the next phase of the lockdown exit plan in Scotland on Thursday (9 July), with further relaxations coming into force this month.

Following the latest review from the Scottish Government, the country will enter phase three of lifting lockdown and a number of changes are to take effect from 10 July - including the rules on visiting households.

Here’s what you need to know.

Gatherings of up to eight people with three households will be allowed indoors from 10 JulyGatherings of up to eight people with three households will be allowed indoors from 10 July
Gatherings of up to eight people with three households will be allowed indoors from 10 July

How many people can come to my house and garden?

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Speaking at her briefing on Thursday (9 July) Ms Sturgeon confirmed that Scotland will move into phase three of its four-stage plan to lift lockdown.

From Friday (10 July), people will be allowed to meet up in extended groups outdoors, and with two other households indoors.

Updated rules state that as of 10 July onwards, up to 15 people from five different households are permitted to meet up outdoors, providing social distancing is maintained.

This includes outdoor public spaces, such as parks, as well as private gardens.

As for indoor meetings, gatherings of up to eight people with three households will be allowed. Overnight stays for those who do not live alone will also be permitted from Friday (10 July).

Additionally, Ms Sturgeon announced that couples who do not live together will be able to meet without having to physically distance, regardless of their living arrangements, from 10 July onwards.

Households are limited to meeting up with four other households in total in one day, indoors or outdoors, although these limits do not apply for those under the age of 18.

Physical distancing indoors no longer applies to children under the age of 12.

“Highest risk changes”

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The First Minister noted that this update was one of the “highest risk changes” the Scottish Government has made so far, and stressed that it is essential to continue to strictly follow all of the public health advice.

She said: "I hope that the measures we have announced or confirmed today are welcome.

"All of them, of course, depend on us keeping the virus under control.

"Eliminating it as far as possible now - ahead of the almost inevitable challenges we will face come winter - remains our objective.

"And we will not hesitate to reimpose restrictions if we consider it necessary to halt the spread of the virus and save lives."

How do ‘extended household groups’ work?

As of 19 June, anyone who lives on their own - or only with children under 18 - has been allowed to form an ‘extended household group’ with one other household.

Currently, within an extended household group, people are able to meet indoors, without physical distancing and stay overnight.

But they must continue to see any other households outdoors only, and stay more than two metres apart from them.

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No member of such an extended household group should form a similar arrangement with any other household. And an extended household must not include anyone who is shielding.

Also if one member of an extended household group gets the virus, all of the group will have to isolate - whether or not they are living in the same property.

Those who choose to form extended households are encouraged to pay particular attention to hygiene measures – to reduce the risk that one household will bring the virus into another.

Extended household groups mean that a grandparent who lives on their own can form a group with another household in their family.

It also allows a single parent and their children to join with another household for support, as well as a non cohabiting couple, where at least one of them lives alone, to be reunited indoors without physical distancing.