Scotland’s route out of lockdown has been accelerated slightly today, but what has changed?
Restrictions surrounding travel have been eased, allowing people to move between council areas for the first time since Christmas.
People can now travel freely around Scotland to see friends and family, recreation and exercise. Previously, it was only for essential purposes.
In another change, up to six people from six households will now also be allowed to meet up outdoors.
This was previously limited to six people from three households but has been relaxed due to the lower rate of transmission.
The Scottish Government has said under 12s do not count towards the number of people meeting or households.
The changes that come into force today were not anticipated, however, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called a coronavirus briefing earlier this week to make the announcement.
Those seeking to take in other parts of the country have been urged to “act responsibly” when crossing county lines.
Aberdeenshire Council has made the plea “not only for the safety of yourselves and others, but also for our beautiful countryside and coastline”.
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In a statement, the local authority urged people to plan ahead and have a Plan B in mind.
They have also urged people to “be responsible” and to “take it easy” to minimise the chances of emergency services being required from “riskier outings”.
What else will change?
From Monday April 26
Non-essential shops such as TK Maxx and Primark will be allowed to reopen, with cross-border travel to England and Wales allowed.
Pubs and restaurants can reopen outdoors for alcoholic drinks and meals, and indoors but cannot serve alcohol.
Hotels will also be allowed to open.
At this stage, the Scottish Government also hopes to move the whole of Scotland, including the islands, into Level 3 as a unified approach is undertaken as we begin to exit lockdown.
From Monday May 17
The whole of Scotland will move from Level 3 to Level 2.
May 17 has also been earmarked as the date that indoor socialising will be permitted, allowing families and friends to meet in each other’s homes at this stage.
Previously the Scottish Government said this would be made up of four people from two households.
Hospitality venues will be permitted to remain open until 10.30pm indoors with alcohol permitted at this stage, with a 10pm closing time for beer gardens.
Contact sport for adults can also resume at this point, with indoor group exercise also restarting.
Cinemas, arcades and bingo halls can also reopen, with small scale outdoor and indoor events allowed to resume, subject to rules relating to capacity.
From Monday June 7
The whole of Scotland is expected to move into Level 1.
From Monday June 28
Scotland is expected to move into Level 0.
ℹ We've published updates to the coronavirus protection levels.
Sticking to the guidance as we move through the levels will help us to carefully and safely return to a more normal life.
— Scottish Government (@scotgov) April 13, 2021
No date has been set for the resumption of overseas travel, as Ms Sturgeon seeks a four-nation plan for this.
The first minister has said that while overseas travel will be in place for some time still, it will not be kept in place for longer than necessary.