Coronavirus restrictions on the number of spectators allowed at outdoor events in Scotland have been lifted, meaning football and rugby matches can go ahead with fans in the stands.

In response to the Omicron wave, rules were put in place from Boxing Day to limit the number of people who can attend outdoor events to a maximum of 500.

On Tuesday last week, Nicola Sturgeon announced these rules would be eased amid early signs the country had “turned a corner”.

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As well as football matches, Murrayfield will be able to hold a full house in the Six Nations rugby.

Scots will still be required to show evidence of vaccination or a recent negative lateral flow test in order to access large events.

HeraldScotland:

A socially distanced match 

Organisers of events with more than 1,000 attendees will be expected to check the Covid status of at least half of those arriving.

Another change coming in on Monday affects the definition of being “fully vaccinated”.

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For those whose second dose was more than four months ago, they will now require a booster or third dose.

Giving an update to MSPs last week, the First Minister said: “The situation in Scotland just now is undoubtedly serious but perhaps less so than it might have been, and there are also some signs that we may be starting to turn a corner.”

Chief medical officer Dr Sir Gregor Smith urged fans returning to stadiums to exercise care, with the first fixture due to be played on Monday at Celtic Park – a stadium which has a capacity of upwards of 60,000 people.

Speaking to the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, he said: “If I was in the stadium, I think I’d just be careful.

“Look for the choke points where people congregate, make sure you’re avoiding those crowds, try and make sure that you’re wearing a face covering at all times when you’re in that crowd.”

Sir Gregor also stressed the importance of minimising the spread of Covid-19 while on the way to games, taking a lateral flow test before leaving and limiting the number of places where fans stop in between home and the stadium.

As well as football matches, Murrayfield will be able to host a full house for the Six Nations rugby.

Another change coming in on Monday affects the definition of being “fully vaccinated”.

For those whose second dose was more than four months ago, they will now require a booster or third dose.

HeraldScotland:

Sir Gregor Smith 

The chief medical officer also claimed there are “encouraging” signs in the fight against the new variant – echoing First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s statement to MSPs last week that Scotland has “turned a corner”.

“What we can now see is fairly distinct, encouraging signs of progress overall in the data, particularly in the case rate,” he said.

“It’s been unstable for a little while, partly because of the holiday period over Christmas and New Year but also because of the recent changes that we had to testing.

“But it does appear that there’s some genuine improvement that sits behind that.”