The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 20) Regulations 2021 comes into force from Friday 16 April 2021 in what the Scottish Government describes as "accelerated easing of restrictions":
Should data permit, the whole of Scotland, including all island communities, will then be in Level 3 from Monday 26 April. This will mean:
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“We have made significant progress in reducing the number of new COVID cases in Scotland, partly due to the success of the vaccination programme but also because so many people have stuck so well to the rules. Daily cases are at the lowest level since September, and have declined more than 85% since early January.
“After consulting with island communities we have decided to align islands with the rest of Scotland for a period so that travel, and therefore parts of the economy that so many islanders rely on, can operate more normally from 26 April. Let me reassure those who would have preferred to see the islands move to Level 2 at the end of April that we do expect at least a move to Level 2 to happen on 17 May.
“More generally, we currently expect the whole country to move to at least Level 2 on 17 May, to Level 1 in early June, and to Level 0 in late June.
“Reaching Level 0 is not the extent of our ambitions, and later on in the summer as the number of people who have been vaccinated increases further we hope that a level of normality well beyond Level 0 will become possible.
“We have always said we will keep plans under review and accelerate the lifting of restrictions if possible. The improved data does not allow us to throw caution to the wind - not if we are sensible - but it does give us a bit of limited headroom.
“So from the end of this week, you will be able to meet up with family and friends who live in different parts of the country. Many of those reunions will be long-awaited, and much anticipated. Please do remember that meetings at this stage must still be outdoors – you cannot socialise in people’s homes – and remember due to physical distancing, public transport capacity remains relatively limited.
“COVID is in retreat in Scotland but it hasn’t gone away - it will come back if we allow it. So we must still exercise care and caution, continue to stick to the rules that are in place, work from home if you can and when you do leave the house, remember FACTS.”