Scotland's Covid lockdown to ease from Monday with beer gardens, cafes, shops and gyms reopening

Here's a look at the main changes from Monday, 26 April

Scotland's Covid lockdown easing will go ahead as planned Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed, with beer gardens, cafes, shops and gyms to reopen on Monday.

The First Minister told a coronavirus briefing that from 26 April, the country would move from Level 4 to Level 3 of the Scottish Government's five tiers of restrictions.

It follows continued suppression of the virus and the ongoing success of the vaccine rollout.

As well as the reopening of hospitality and retail venues, travel between Scotland, England and Wales will be permitted and tourist accommodation can welcome back visitors.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gets a haircut at a salon in Edinburgh Credit: Andy Buchanan/PA
  • What's changing in Scotland from Monday 26 April:

Hospitality and retail - Scots will, from Monday, be allowed to visit cafes, restaurants and beer gardens while shops, gyms, beauty parlours, libraries and museums will be permitted to reopen.

Hospitality will need to close at 8pm indoors and 10pm outdoors - with alcohol only allowed to be served outside.

Socialising - People can meet outside in groups of up to six from six different households.

Six people can meet indoors in hospitality settings, too, but must be from a maximum of two households.

Travel - Travel across the border to England and Wales will be allowed once more.

Tourist accommodation can reopen and welcome back visitors.

Shielding - Those who have been shielding will, from Monday, be allowed to return to work, if they can not work from home.

Children who have been shielding can also return to school.

Occasions - Funerals and weddings, including wakes and receptions, will be allowed to take place with up to 50 people - but no alcohol may be served.

As well as the reopening of shops, gyms and beer gardens, Ms Sturgeon confirmed non-essential work would be permitted in people’s homes from Monday.

It means cleaning services can get up and running again, as well as painting and decorating.

Credit: PA

Non-essential informal childcare arrangements are also allowed to resume from Monday.

In order to boost safe travel around the country, the Scottish government is making lateral flow tests available to anyone from Monday.

Ms Sturgeon urged people to consider using these before travelling to Scotland’s island communities.

With many islands having "very, very low rates of Covid", Ms Sturgeon said anyone travelling to one was being encouraged to take two tests – one three days before travelling and one on the day of departure.

She said: “This is potentially an important way we can minimise the risk of bringing Covid into island communities, while nevertheless allowing our island communities the benefit of opening up again to visitors.”

Coronavirus: What you need to know - listen to the latest episode

Ms Sturgeon told the coronavirus briefing that two deaths from Covid and 178 positive tests had been recorded in Scotland in the past 24 hours.

She said the continued decline in cases meant the country could relax restrictions.

Scotland's lockdown is scheduled to ease once again on May 17, when the country is expected to move to Level 2 restrictions.

Then from June 7, restrictions are planned to relax further to Level 1 rules.