Covid lockdown easing in Scotland delayed until July 19

Credit: PA

The next easing of coronavirus restrictions in Scotland will be postponed until July 19 amid rising cases, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

Under the Scottish Government’s plans, the country had been due to move to Level 0 - the lowest level of restrictions - from June 28.

Ms Sturgeon said increasing case numbers are behind the delay, after 2,167 cases were recorded in Scotland in the past 24 hours – the highest daily figure since January 8.

The First Minister set out a series of vaccination milestones, however, and said if these and other criteria were met the majority of restrictions could be lifted by August 9.

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Speaking to MSPs in Holyrood on Tuesday, Ms Sturgeon said: "Our assessment – on balance and assuming we meet the necessary conditions on vaccination and harm reduction – is that it would be possible and proportionate to lift the major remaining legal restrictions on 9 August.

"We will consider and make a final assessment nearer the time of whether – as we hope – this could include the lifting of the legal requirement to physically distance indoors as well as outdoors."

She added: “The move beyond Level 0 will be a major milestone and it will signal a return to almost complete normality in our day to day lives."

The Scottish Government will not immediately recommend a return to office working when all restrictions are lifted, Ms Sturgeon added.

Despite the delay to the easing of restrictions, guidance for weddings and funerals will be changed in Scotland

Ms Sturgeon announced that, at weddings, live entertainment will be allowed, although dancing will not as attendees will have to be seated.

Those accompanying the couple down the aisle will also no longer need to wear face coverings, while those working at weddings will no longer count towards the total number of people who can attend.

For funerals, people from more than one household will also now be allowed to carry a coffin or take a cord when lowering it.