Update to Scotland's route map setting out further Phase 3 changes, as Scotland transitions through and out of the COVID-19 crisis.
The Scottish Government said: “We have progressed cautiously through the Route Map phases, taking care at every step to ensure it was safe to proceed. At times we have had to pause, and take a little longer to make progress, but we have now reached a point in Phase 3, where around 96% of our businesses are trading again, though many will be operating below full capacity, our children have returned to school and many social activities have been able to resume. But life is certainly not back to normal. The virus continues to pose a significant threat to public health. As a consequence, physical distancing and following the FACTS remain essential and some restrictions have been retained.”
However it warned that that in its assessment: “of the status of the pandemic, we judge that we do not yet meet the criteria for progressing to Phase 4 of our Route Map, in which the virus will cease to be a significant threat to public health in Scotland. Beyond the planned changes to the restrictions noted in this publication, the Scottish Government considers that the remaining coronavirus regulations continue to be necessary to protect public health. Given that the current regulations are set to expire on 26 September 2020, the Scottish Government considers it necessary to replace them with a new legislative instrument that will expire on 31 March 2021. Subject to the approval of Parliament, this new expiry date will align with other coronavirus legislation and ensure that no measures will expire automatically before it is appropriate for them to be eased.”
The Scottish Government said that as part of this review, the following steps to further reduce transmission of the virus will be introduced:
· The limit on the number of people who can meet socially indoors or outdoors will be reduced to a maximum of six people, and they should come from no more than two households. This applies in people's homes and gardens as well as in hospitality and public spaces such as parks. It is not required to count children under 12, from within the two households, within the 6 person limit. The regulations and guidance will be updated to reflect these changes. As before there will be certain limited exemptions to this limit - for example attendance at weddings and funerals. The changes to meeting socially do not apply to services or activities that are already exempt from these restrictions and have been permitted to open subject to their own guidance such as organised sport.
· Given the return of university and college students that has already begun, we will extend the house party offence provision that came into force on 28 August to include parties held within student accommodation. This will make it an offence to attend a party in student accommodation as it currently is in other forms of private dwelling. In doing so we will ensure that normal domestic activities carried out by students in their own accommodation are not inadvertently breaching the rules. This change is planned to come into effect on 14 September.
· Face coverings will be mandated for customers and staff in indoor hospitality. There will be an exemption for when customers are eating and drinking. Staff in non-public facing roles, such as kitchen staff, will also be exempt where face coverings may present health and safety issues due to the nature of roles. Exemptions for vulnerable groups/individuals will also apply to hospitality settings. Regulations will the take effect on Monday 14 September.