By that date, it will be more than three weeks since the completion of the vaccination programme for over 50s and it is hoped that all parts of Scotland which are not currently in level 0 will move to level 0.
By 26 July, it is expected vaccination of all over 40s will be completed, giving them a significant level of protection by 9 August. It is expected that it will then be proportionate to lift the major remaining Covid restrictions in Scotland.
However, the First Minister cautioned the easing or lifting of restrictions was dependent on meeting the necessary conditions on vaccination and harm reduction. She also said it is likely some travel restrictions would remain in place and it is also expected that a return to office working will be on a phased approach likely beginning on 19 July, with home working continuing to be encouraged.
An updated Strategic Framework has been published which highlights the Scottish Government’s strategic intention in handling the pandemic has changed from “suppress the virus to the lowest possible level and keep it there” to “suppress the virus to a level consistent with alleviating its harms while we recover and rebuild for a better future”.
The outcome of the review of physical distancing was published today, which recognises that it will be appropriate to reduce physical distancing requirements as more people gain protection through vaccination. In addition there will be some changes to rules relating to weddings and funerals from Monday (28 June).
Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers Chief Executive, Fiona Campbell, said:
“Scotland’s self-caterers, along with our colleagues across tourism and hospitality, welcome much of today’s statement from the First Minister, specifically the additional clarity she has given on the expected dates for the lifting of restrictions.
“However, we are acutely aware that level zero does not mean no restrictions and therefore larger self-catering properties will continue to face strict curbs on their activity until August, meaning that they will require urgent financial support from the Scottish Government.
“There is also the crucial point that the date of 9 August for moving beyond level zero means that our members, especially those operating larger properties, will only have only one week of the Scottish school holidays in which to do business and will have effectively lost the entire summer season.
“It should be stressed that we are not talking about people with second homes, this is about people who rely on their businesses for their livelihoods and therefore continue to need financial support to remain viable.”