Covid rules in Scotland: Hairdressers to open on 5 April in lockdown easing

  • ITV News Scotland Correspondent Peter Smith speaks about the easing of lockdown restrictions

Scotland's stay at home order will be lifted in early April and hairdressers will be allowed to reopen, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Ms Sturgeon, setting out her roadmap out of lockdown, said "stay at home" will be replaced by "stay local" on April 2, with the new guidance set to stay in place for three weeks.

Days later, on April 5, hairdressers and barbers will be allowed to reopen for appointments, and contact sports for 12 to 17 year olds will be allowed to resume.

Non-essential retail will also be allowed to reopen but for click and collect services only, while homeware stores, car show rooms and garden centres will also be allowed to reopen.

More students, particularly those in college, will also be able to go back to in-person teaching, Ms Sturgeon said, with colleges prioritising those at risk of not completing courses for return first.

On April 26 hospitality venues such as pubs and restaurants will be allowed to reopen, with alcohol only allowed to be served outdoors.

Indoor hospitality will have to close at 8pm while customers will be allowed to remain outdoors til 10pm.

It's at this point Ms Sturgeon said Scotland will have left lockdown and entered a "modified Level 3".

She told MSPs that the vaccination programme will have reached those most at risk of dying from Covd-19, which "will give us confidence to ease restrictions much more significantly from April 26".

Also on that date restrictions on travel within mainland Scotland and the rest of the UK will lift "entirely" and indoor gyms will be allowed to reopen with limitations.

Ms Sturgeon said if travel restrictions are not lifted on April 26, then they will be "as soon as possible thereafter".

Main points in Nicola Sturgeon's unlock plan:

  • Stay at home rule to lift from April 2

  • Hairdressers and non-essential retail to reopen with restrictions on April 5

  • Travel restrictions within mainland Scotland and rest of UK on April 26

  • Gyms, weddings, funerals and outdoor meetings of six people from three households can resume from April 26

  • On May 17, it is hoped groups of four people from two households would be able to socialise indoors

  • Lockdown fully lifts by end of June, it is hoped

Further easing of outdoor socialising restrictions will also happen on that date, with six people from three households being allowed to meet, with those aged between 12 and 17 able to meet with six others from six households.

Attendance at funerals, weddings and associated events will also increase to a maximum of 50 from the same date.

On May 17 restrictions on outdoor gatherings will lift, if the coronavirus situation allows, and it is hoped indoor meetings at homes will be allowed to resume, limited to four people from two households.

Indoor hospitality venues will also be allowed to sell alcohol from this date.

Ms Sturgeon said from early June all of Scotland will move to Covid-19 alert level one, and by the end of June she hopes the country will move into alert level zero.

She said 40% of Scotland's population had so far been vaccinated and hopes continued progression will lead the country closer to normality.

Level one, according to the Scottish government, will "allow further relaxation across all areas of the economy and society, while still applying physical distancing and other non-pharmaceutical interventions".

Ms Sturgeon refused to put any exact dates on the final steps out of lockdown, but said she's "optimistic" it will take place during summer.

She said: "For me to set a precise date for all of that right now would involve plucking it out of thin air - and I'd be doing it to make my life easier, not yours," she said.

"I am not going to do that. But I do believe that over the coming weeks - as more and more adults are vaccinated - it will be possible to set a firmer date by which many of these normal things will be possible.

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"I am optimistic that this date will be over the summer. I know I will not be the only one now looking forward - with a real sense of hope - to hugging my family this summer."

Level one in Scotland has previously been described as having a "reasonable" degree of normality, while level zero is said to be close to normal, with all hospitality except nightclubs being allowed to reopen.

The Scottish Government warned it is "prepared to pause" any steps out of lockdown if "data shows that the virus is spreading again".

It said: "We will act decisively to reapply higher levels of restrictions to manage localised outbreaks should the need arise.

"This could be on a local or regional basis, depending on the nature of the outbreak.

"However, we will not leave any restrictions in place for any longer than they are necessary to meet our responsibility to safeguard the people of Scotland."