NICOLA Sturgeon has been urged to announce an end to virtually all Covid restrictions when she updates parliament on the state of the pandemic.

The Scottish Tories said every rule bar face masks in certain settings should be scrapped while hospitality bosses demanded an immediate halt to “indefensible” barriers to trade.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats echoed some of the ideas, calling for a restart of indoors sports and the abolition of vaccine passports.

However the Scottish Greens branded the Tory proposals “reckless”.

Ms Sturgeon is due to make one of her regular statements on the pandemic at Holyrood tomorrow afternoon.

Last week she announced an end to restrictions at large outdoor events would start today.

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With case numbers halving in a week amid hopes the Omicron variant has peaked, the Tories said Ms Sturgeon should end other restrictions to help the struggling economy.

Scottish leader Douglas Ross said positive Covid data from the Scottish Government made it possible to start moving from a rules-based approach to one based on advice. 

The latest official modelling predicts hospital occupancy and Covid cases will decline sharply from February onwards.

Mr Ross said there should be an immediate end to the ban on indoor sports, then an end to all business restrictions from January 31, including the axing of vaccine passports.

Household mixing and social distancing guidance should also stop, as should face masks in schools, while working from home and self-isolation rules should be phased out. 

However he said that, pending healthier data, face masks should still be required in public places such as hospitality premises, supermarkets and public transport.

Mr Ross also said the vaccination scheme and regular testing should continue for now. 

He said: “The Scottish Government’s own data shows that we are past the peak of Omicron. The latest evidence means we can now be far more optimistic.

“Protecting mental health, physical health and Scottish jobs is every bit as important as slowing the spread of Covid. Our economy and the long-term health of the public must not be held back any longer than necessary.

“We believe the balance must now tip in favour of trusting the Scottish public to do the right thing and keep themselves and their families safe, as they have done throughout this pandemic.

“People across Scotland have learned to live with Covid. The success of Scotland and the UK’s vaccine scheme means the public can now tackle Covid through their own actions, without the need for so many government restrictions.

“We will be pushing the SNP Government to examine their own data and progressively remove restrictions. The current rules-based approach should be phased out in favour of less restrictive public health advice.”

The changes would bring Scotland into line with the more relaxed regime in England.

The pub and restaurant sector said recent Government research should more young people socialising at home since the New year than in licensed premises.

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Calling for an immediate end to restrictions on the sector, Scottish Hospitality Group spokesperson Stephen Montgomery said: “The current restrictions on hospitality are indefensible. Even the Scottish Government has identified that they are completely pointless and driving people to socialise at home, which is an uncontrolled environment. 

“Meanwhile, thousands of businesses still wait for financial support, despite being promised a lifeline over six weeks ago by the First Minister. 

“Many, if not all, hospitality businesses have had to support staff financially and emotionally during this past eight weeks who have lost shifts or had to isolate. A huge number of them are still not able to access the isolation grants.”

He said the “stranglehold of restrictions” seemed more driven by the Scottish Government’s desire to score political points over the UK Government than a desire to protect jobs. 

He also said many businesses had not received  “a penny” of the £66 million in support promised by the Scottish Government before Christmas.

Contrasting the reopening of football stadia to fans, he said: “It’s incredible that yet again, hospitality is the last sector to open. For almost two years the government has been slapping restrictions on our industry, which have ultimately destroyed businesses across the country, and are based on no scientific evidence.” 

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie said tomorrow’s update was a chance for Ms Sturgeon to provide “clarity on the next steps” as Omicro declined but the crisis in the NHS and care continued. 

She said: “We have health boards going beyond ‘code black’ and reducing GP as well as hospital services; a staffing crisis with overworked employees at breaking point, and a social care system still reeling from the impact of SNP decisions at the start of the pandemic. 

“This statement is the SNP’s opportunity to listen to and address the concerns of frontline NHS staff and patients.

“Scottish Labour also want to see a ramping up of support for small businesses. 

“Small businesses are the bedrock of Scotland’s economic recovery and deserve better support from the SNP government. Announcements of money are always welcome but it is taking too long to reach those businesses most in need.

 “As Scotland starts to learn to live with Covid in the long term, we need both our NHS and our economy to be up to full strength. It is time for the SNP to end its ‘sticking plaster’ policy culture and listen to the concerns of both businesses, the NHS and social care. 

“We must give them what they need so that they can help Scotland recover.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “While it is appropriate to act with caution, we have seen green shoots starting to show as the number of new cases falls.

“This week the First Minister has a clean-up operation to do, getting rid of out-of-date rules and putting in place a more logical and consistent set of guidance.

“At the moment you can go to the pub and to a football match but indoor sports are still banned. We know that these activities have huge physical and mental benefits so it’s time to bring that suspension to an end.

“Similarly we need to see confirmation that Covid ID cards are not going to be rolled out any further.

"They don’t tell you who is sick so they are next to useless at stopping the spread. Instead it’s time for a fresh push on getting people signed up for boosters by hitting the phones and setting people’s nerves at ease.”

Scottish Greens health and social care spokesperson Gillian Mackay MSP said: “It seems that Douglas Ross has learned absolutely nothing during the past two years.

"Ripping up restrictions at a time when our NHS is still under pressure would be reckless.

“I am pleased that we are in a position where restrictions can begin to be relaxed, but it is essential that the situation continues to be monitored daily.

"We have seen before how the circumstances can change quickly, so caution must be maintained."