People in Scotland will be able to hug loved ones again from Monday – subject to restrictions – according to Nicola Sturgeon who found herself getting "a wee bit emotional" as she broke the news earlier today.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that most of Scotland will move to Level 2 next Monday, with up to six people from three households allowed to meet indoors. 

HeraldScotland:

Overnight stays are also allowed, meaning people can travel to see friends and relatives living further away, while up to eight people from eight households can meet outdoors.

The First Minister also said social distancing during meetings indoors or in private gardens will be dropped.

“I actually feel a wee bit emotional saying this, from Monday, as long as you stay within permitted limits, you can hug your loved ones again,” she said.

However, she stressed it remains “vital to be cautious”, saying dropping social distancing will be reviewed for all situations in the coming weeks. Caution should be used where a vulnerable person is involved, she added.

Age Scotland said the family reunions that are bound to follow will bring "tears of joy" after a long and difficult year, as it welcomed the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Brian Sloan, Chief Executive of Age Scotland, said: “This news will be warmly welcomed by millions of families across Scotland, especially those who have been cut off from their loved ones for the best part of a year.

“After many long and difficult months, I’m sure there will be many tears of joy when families are finally able to reunite."

The news has been met by varying degrees of excitement from people in Scotland, as they get ready to hug their loved ones once again after a long and difficult year.

The First Minister isn't the only one getting a "wee bit emotional" at the prospect.

However, not everyone - especially those who weren't the biggest fans of hugging to begin with - is as enthused at the idea.

CEO of Age Scotland Brian Sloan added: “We’ve heard from numerous older people who desperately miss their families, and grandparents who haven’t even met a new grandchild yet. While phone and video calls can be a lifeline, they are no substitute for meeting in person and hugging children and grandchildren.

“While we’re not yet out of the woods, this is an important step on the road back to normality.

“The last year has taken a huge toll on many older people’s mental health and well-being, with soaring levels of loneliness and isolation.

HeraldScotland:

"Now that infections are falling, and most older people are fully vaccinated, they can now have the confidence to start to pick up their lives again.”

So Scotland — who are you looking forward to hugging first on Monday?