Covid: How does Scotland's lockdown lifting plan compare to England's?

  • Video report from ITV News Scotland correspondent Peter Smith

Both England and Scotland have now revealed their lockdown lifting plans but there are stark differences between both - how do they compare?

Nicola Sturgeon revealed the plan for Scotland on Tuesday, a day after Boris Johnson announced England's plan on Monday.

Both rely on the success of the vaccine rollout to bring the pandemic to an end once and for all.

Neither is unquestionably more cautious than the other with somethings happening in Scotland sooner and others in England.

What are the main differences?

Both governments are aiming to lift lockdown in phases, but in England the gaps between these are larger at five weeks compared to Scotland's three.

In Scotland, Ms Sturgeon only revealed part of the plan detailing measure easing up until April 5, with some measures carrying on after that.

Sturgeon revealed Scotland's plan to get out of lockdown on Tuesday Credit: PA

In England, Mr Johnson revealed a full road map that would see the end of practically all Covid restrictions.

England's plan final date is June 21 but details some restrictions that are expected to stay after that.

Both England and Scotland's plan are contingent on cases and hospitalisations continuing to fall and staying low, any increase could delay any lockdown lifting measures.

  • Peter Smith describes how people have reacted to Sturgeon's announcement

What are the key dates?

Scotland’s stay-at-home order is expected to be lifted from April 5 under a phased plan to lift lockdown.

The nation will be lowered from level three lockdown from five on April 26.

Level three would see shops and hairdressers reopened but limits still in place on household mixing and the hospitality sector would be able to function but with restrictions in place.

Both nations are relying on the vaccine rollout to lift lockdown Credit: PA

From March 15 four people from two households may also be allowed to meet outdoors from that date.

The plan Ms Sturgeon revealed for Scotland ends on April 29 and she has promised to provide a further update in the middle of March.Over in England, lockdown lifting starts on March 8, when people will be able to have one-on-one meetings in outdoor, public spaces.Three weeks later, on March 29, the rule of six will return for people in England and the stay at home order will end, though government messaging will encourage people to stay local.

In England the earliest shops can reopen will be April 12.

  • Peter Smith gives an overview of Scotland's roadmap

Some outdoor hospitality will also be allowed from that date.

Two households, or groups of up to six people, will be allowed to mix indoors and limited crowds will be allowed at sporting events from May 17.All remaining restrictions on social contact could be lifted from June 21, allowing for larger events to go ahead and nightclubs to reopen.

What's happening with schools?

All UK nations have emphasised their desire to see children return to school as soon as possible.

In Scotland some school children of the youngest have already gone back to their desks.

Under the plans, the remainder of primary school pupils and more senior phase secondary pupils will return in the next phase, which will not be before March 15.

Younger secondary children will go back in the final phase of easing lockdown, which will be at least three weeks later, on the same date the stay at home order is rescinded.

Some children have already returned to school in Scotland Credit: PA

In England lockdown lifting will also start with children returning to school.

All children will return to their desks on March 8 in England with no phased return being planned.

Could the two different plans create issues?

Potentially, with shops predicted to open earlier in England on April 12, compared to Scotland's April 29, people could cross the border to visit a high street or mall.

The governments are also approaching the end of Covid differently with England essentially abandoning any plan to fully get rid of the virus altogether.

Scotland has stuck to its zero-Covid policy which aims to have no coronavirus present in in the country at all.

Whereas in England the government believes it will be impossible to get rid of the virus altogether and future management of the disease akin to the way we manage flu may be needed.

Both governments have been reluctant to speak on the possibility of international travel with many praying to get a summer holiday this year.

Ms Sturgeon said the easing requires “continuing to accept some trade-offs for a period, for example on international travel”.

She said: “Travel restrictions are also essential and are likely to remain so for some time yet."

The ability to travel abroad will depend on the rollout of the vaccines in other countries and may require a vaccine passport - something the government has said it will investigate.

The lack of commitment from the government has not stopped people from booking holidays with airlines reporting a huge rise in interest immediately after Mr Johnson spoke on Monday.