NICOLA Sturgeon has confirmed all parts of Scotland are due to move to Level 0 from July 19.

The First Minister said the current restrictions will be maintained for the next three weeks, as signalled previously.

However, she said "some minor, but important, changes to the rules on weddings and funerals" will take effect from Monday.

Ms Sturgeon said the remaining "major legal restrictions" should be lifted by August 9 – conditional on all over 40s having received the Covid vaccine.

She stressed the dates are indicative and dependent on progress against the virus.

READ MORE: Scotland to end physical distancing rules by August 9

It came as more than 2,000 new cases of coronavirus were identified in Scotland for the first time since January.

Scotland has recorded four new coronavirus deaths and 2,167 new cases in the past 24 hours.

Ms Sturgeon said: "If we can move - as hoped - to Level 0 on 19 July, that will be a significant step back to normality."

This would see the general indoor physical distancing requirement reduced from two metres to one metre, potentially allowing theatres and other venues to reopen.

The outdoor requirement to physically distance would be removed entirely. 

Speaking in Holyrood, Ms Sturgeon said: "By 19 July, three weeks will have elapsed since the completion of the vaccination programme for over 50s, which means that the vaccine will be giving everyone in that age group a significant level of protection.

"Therefore, assuming we are meeting the revised strategic aim, we hope that all parts of Scotland, not currently in that level, can move to Level 0 on 19 July.

"That means, for example, that the limits for household gatherings indoors will increase from that date, and up to 200 people will be able to attend weddings and funerals.

"We also hope - assuming the data supports this - that the general indoor physical distancing requirement can be reduced from two metres to one metre.

"And we hope, from that date, to lift the outdoor requirement to physically distance.

"In addition – in recognition of the reduced risk of outdoor transmission and therefore the desire to encourage people to stay outdoors as much as possible – we hope that limits on informal outdoor social gatherings, in private gardens for example, will also be removed at this stage.

"So rather than the current rules for Level 0 – which state that up to 15 people from 15 households can meet outdoors – informal social gatherings of any size will be allowed.

"We will however keep in place temporarily the rules and processes currently applicable at level 0 for organised outdoor events, given that these can attract much larger crowds."

From Monday, Ms Sturgeon said suppliers of wedding services, and other people employed by a couple getting married, will no longer count towards the cap on numbers at weddings.

Meanwhile, those accompanying the wedding couple down the aisle will no longer need to wear face coverings.

Live entertainment at receptions will also be possible - although people will still need to be seated at tables.

Elsewhere, the guidance for funerals will be changed so that people from more than one household can help carry a coffin, and take a cord when lowering it.

Ms Sturgeon said:  “From 19 July, and then more substantially, from 9 August – assuming we are meeting our revised strategic aim of alleviating the harm of the virus – life should feel much less restricted for all of us.

“A very significant degree of normality will be restored – for individuals and for businesses.

"As I said earlier, these are indicative dates, but they allow us to plan ahead with more clarity. As always, we all have a part to play in keeping us on track.

“Up until now, the Scottish Government’s strategic intention has been to ‘suppress the virus to the lowest possible level and keep it there’.

"From now, our aim will be to ‘suppress the virus to a level consistent with alleviating its harms while we recover and rebuild for a better future’.

“This change reflects the fact that vaccination is reducing – we hope significantly – the harm that the virus causes.

“Physical distancing has been an important mitigation against the virus but it is also burdensome for individuals and costly for businesses. 

"So as vaccinations bear more of the load of controlling the virus, we need to consider when and to what extent we can reduce the legal requirement for it.

“Ultimately we hope to remove the legal requirement for physical distancing – even though we may continue to advise people to think about safe distancing when interacting with people outside their close contact groups.”

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “It’s welcome that we finally have changes to weddings and funeral guidance, although it’s disappointing that this has come so late, after so many occasions have already been affected.

"It’s encouraging to see more of a routemap towards the end of restrictions but a number of crucial questions remain.

"It’s still up in the air if we will fully exit Covid restrictions in August or if the SNP Government are planning to continue with social distancing, capacity constraints indoors, and the wearing of masks in schools and offices.

"This new framework falls short of giving the clarity that people and businesses need to get on with their lives and plan for the future."