FURTHER easing of lockdown measures in Scotland continues today.

The First Minister last week confirmed an acceleration of easing restrictions across the country following a continued suppression of the virus.

But Nicola Sturgeon has since urged the public not to “squander” that progress as we move into more freedom.

Here, we detail out the six changes taking place today: 

Shopping and outdoor markets

One of the most anticipated announcements from lockdown, non-essential shops (including retail) are now officially allowed to reopen. 

The one restriction still in place, however, is these must be street-access retail. Non-essential stores within shopping centres/malls must remain closed until Phase 3.

Commenting on the re-opening this morning, the First Minister tweeted: “If you plan on visiting shops today, please do so responsibly.

“Maintain physical distancing, follow hygiene advice, wear a face covering and respect staff who may be asking you to shop differently.

“We’ve made so much progress against the virus – let’s not squander it. #StaySafe.”

Outdoor markets can also reopen, provided there can be controls on the number of people within the market and distancing is kept.

Working  

Working from home remains the default position.

But the guidance says non-essential indoor, non-office based workplaces can reopen - including factories, warehouses, lab and research facilities.

The construction sector can also implement further stages of a phased return.

This does NOT include indoor workspaces that are due to open in Phase 3 – like non-essential offices and call-centres. 

Moving home 

From today, all home moves are permitted, provided they can be carried out safely.

This includes students moving home and other home moves resulting in two households merging. 

HeraldScotland:

It also applies to custom and self-builders looking to acquire a plot or a property to renovate or to demolish.  

The Scottish Government has issued guidance around this – as well as encouraging people to take part in virtual property viewings as much as possible with further guidance around health and safety here

Outdoor sports courts and playgrounds

From today, outdoor sports courts can reopen to the public.

This includes courts for tennis, basketball, volleyball (beach), Multi-Use Games Areas (MUGA’s) and netball.

Participants must maintain strict physical distancing at all times when using outdoor sports courts. This does not include pitches used for contact sports.

Playgrounds can also reopen.

These were closed at the start of lockdown amid fears the virus could spread through the physical contact in these areas.

Marriages and civil partnerships 

Marriages and civil partnerships can resume from today.

These have to have a minimal number of attendees and, despite the Scottish weather, be outdoors only.

All the participants, including the couple and the witnesses, must come from no more than three households and will be possible up to a maximum of eight. 

The celebrant or registrar will not count as one of the households. 

HeraldScotland:

Zoos and garden attractions 

Must to the anticipation of those in Edinburgh, zoos and garden attractions can open from today.

However the Scottish Government guidance says these are initially for local access only – meaning people broadly within five miles can attend. 

Increased hygiene measures are encouraged, with pre-booking tickets online also advised.