First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will reveal the Scottish Government’s route map out of the current national lockdown today (23 February).
Ms Sturgeon will set out the plan for gradually easing the country out of restrictions on Tuesday (23 February) afternoon, with immediate priorities to include returning young people to education, sports activities for young people and limited social interaction for adults.
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A gradual phased return to normality
Ms Sturgeon has said that the Scottish Government plans a gradual and phased return to “as much normality as possible”, now that Covid-19 case numbers have decreased and the number of people in hospital is starting to reduce.
A limited number of children and young people were permitted to return to school in Scotland on Monday (22 February), and it is hoped more children will go back later in March.
Restrictions on care home visits will also be eased from early March, followed by allowing people the chance to meet up, initially outdoors.
Ms Sturgeon said: “We have published new guidance to enable an easing of restrictions on care home visiting from early March.
“Beyond that, giving people the ability to meet loved ones, initially outdoors, is a priority for easing restrictions within the current level 4.
“As we get to a situation where we can move back to a levels approach, with all or part of the country moving down a level, we can start to carefully open the economy again too.
“The strategic framework sets out as far as possible at this stage how we will approach the gradual easing of restrictions.
“We will be able to give more detail and clarity in the weeks ahead as we make further progress both on suppressing the virus and vaccinating the population, and as we understand more about the impact of vaccination.
“However, to keep moving in the right direction and avoid setbacks caution will be necessary, which is why the framework will be clear about the need to move in a gradual way.”
Three weeks between phases
The plans for easing lockdown will set out an indicative order of priority and proposed phases, with periods of at least three weeks expected between them.
Once the current level 4 restrictions ease, Scotland will then return to a more geographic tiered system.Scotland’s route out of lockdown will not be identical to the UK Government’s, which was outlined by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday (22 February), but it will be “broadly similar”, Ms Sturgeon has said.
The First Minister said the data for the nations is different, but the principles of easing restrictions will be the same.
When will Nicola Sturgeon speak?
The First Minister will outline the new framework in front of MSPs in Holyrood on Tuesday 23 February, and is expected to make her announcement at around 2.15pm.