PEOPLE should not be meeting outside to have coffees on park benches, Scotland's Chief Medical Officer has said.

Dr Gregor Smith said such behaviour was only putting people at risk.

It came after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned against "day trips" to the beach or park. 

Scots have been told to stay at home as much as possible, and only to leave for essential purposes such as work, shopping or exercise.

Speaking during the Scottish Government's coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon said: "When we mean go out for essential exercise, that's what we mean – to get exercise, to get some fresh air. 

"We've not put limits on that like we did in the first lockdown.

"What we don't mean by essential exercise is going for a day trip with other people to the beach or to a park. 

"I know that sounds harsh but it is really important right now that all of us stay at home as much as we possibly can. 

"And when you are outdoors for essential exercise, if you are mixing with another household it must be a maximum of two people from two households.

"It's really important that we stop this virus transmitting as much as possible."

She said people should not "linger" in parks or other areas any longer than they have to, adding: "The stay at home rule is the one that's really important right now, so limit your time out and about to exercise, getting fresh air, perhaps seeing somebody from another household for that socially distanced catch up, but make sure you are abiding by all the rules."

Mr Smith later went further. He said: "Go outside to take exercise. 

"It's important that we're still participating in physical activities. It's good for us both physically and mentally.

"But don't be going outside to meet each other, have a cup of coffee, sit on a park bench, things like that. 

"You're only putting yourself at risk and the other person at risk as well.

"As the First Minister has outlined, there is the ability to be able to participate in that physical activity outside with one other person from one other household.

"But I certainly wouldn't be recommending to anyone that they go beyond that.

"I think anyone who's contemplating that really has to question whether that's an essential form of activity or not.

"I think it's good that with got the ability still to be able to meet with people from other households in that way, to take physical activity, because it has some impact on reducing loneliness that some people experience, but I think we've just got to be very careful that we're making sure that at all times we are limiting the ability for this virus to be able to spread to other people."

Coronavirus legislation allows Scots to leave home to "undertake exercise or recreation" outdoors.