Relaxation of rules on outdoor meeting in Scotlandon March 12, 2021 at 6:17 am

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Up to four adults from two different households are now able to meet up outside, including in gardens.

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Rules on meeting people outdoors in Scotland have been relaxed.

Up to four adults from two different households are now able to meet in any outdoor space – including in private gardens – an increase from two adults from two households.

Restrictions on young people have also been eased, with four people aged between 12-17 able to meet even if they are all from different households.

Outdoor non-contact group sports for adults have also restarted.

The government’s previous plan for easing lockdown said that allowing four people from two households to meet outdoors was unlikely to happen before 15 March.

But First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the “modest” easing was the result of the progress the country was making in suppressing the virus.

People should only go into someone’s else’s home if it is essential to reach a back garden, or to use the toilet.

The overall requirement to stay at home remains in place, except for specific purposes.

Earlier this week Ms Sturgeon told MSPs that new cases, the number of people being admitted to hospital and deaths were all “still higher than we would want”.

However, she said there was a clear “positive trend” in figures, alongside “excellent progress with the vaccination programme”.

Although the number of vaccines being administered each day has has fallen in recent weeks, the first minister said supplies would increase to “allow for a very significant acceleration” of the programme from mid-March.

The Scottish government has been considering accelerating its exit plan out of lockdown, which currently says that the country will return to a levels system towards the end of April.

It emerged earlier this month that new rules are set to make it harder for areas to drop down to lower tiers of these restrictions.

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It is also expected that non-essential retail, hospitality and services such as gyms and hairdressers will reopen as part of the levels system.

But business leaders have said a return to this framework would be “devastating” and have called for more clarity on how the system would work.

During FMQs on Thursday, Ms Sturgeon confirmed that the planned reopening of schools will go ahead on Monday.

Plans for the phased reopening of the economy are set to be announced on Tuesday.

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