At Friday’s media briefing, the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said that over 100,000 people have now read the route map out of lockdown which was published on Thursday. You can read it below.
She made it clear that none of the changes envisaged by these plans are yet in place. So this weekend, the current lockdown restrictions remain in place.
The First Minister warned that if circumstances change over the next few days then the government plans to take us out of lockdown will have to change too. Living in the city centre it is obvious to us that the police are very visible. I have spotted at least one police vehicle, if not several, every time I have left the house. Last night police were moving some people from one of the private gardens in the city centre who appeared to be having a social gathering there. But it is also true to say that there is more traffic too.
Ms Sturgeon said on Friday: “By next Thursday I hope we will be in a position to begin Test and Protect which is a key tool for us to keep the virus suppressed. Not all of the measures will be introduced. We will have to make a judgement at that time.
“As the document sets out, more outdoor activity will be permitted. The risks of transmission are not zero outside but are decreased. As long as you stay two metres apart you may meet different households – but one other household at a time. If you have to travel a long distance then you might have to go inside other people’s houses – this poses a risk to others, particularly if you are visiting older people.”
As well as those changes some non-contact leisure such as golf, croquet, tennis and bowls will be allowed again – but you are encouraged to travel there preferably by walking or cycling if possible.
Scottish Golf has issued its own guidance on what clubs need to do to adhere to the public health guidelines. This will include strict tee times and also either telling golfers not to touch the flags or the removal of flags altogether. They issued a short statement on the news that play can be resumed at all Scottish courses: “Following positive discussions with the Scottish Government, sportscotland and the governing bodies for tennis and bowls, Scottish Golf welcomes the news that our golfing community will benefit from the Scottish Government’s revised guidance for exercise.” Play will be restricted to either golfers playing alone or in two ball games. There is also a possibility of four balls if the players are only from two households. At all times physical distancing will be necessary, and clubhouses must remain shut.
The First Minister also said that we should all limit ourselves to travelling locally. Unlike other countries where strict distances have been put in place, and while five miles has been mentioned as a guide it is not a strict limit. She said: “People will be able to travel – preferably by walking or cycling – to a location near their local community for recreation. But here we are asking you to stay fairly local. Five miles will not be a strict limit but it is a guide. We don’t want, in this phase, people congregating at tourist hot spots – because crowds of people – even if they’re trying to socially distance – brings more risk than we judge is safe to take at this time.” The scenes from Portobello beach earlier in the week were perhaps in her mind.
Waste and recycling centres will reopen soon as well as garden centres. Construction companies can start to plan for a restart. All of these measures in Phase 1 are contained in the document published on the website which is embedded for you to read below.
Schools will reopen on 11 August and teachers will begin work in June to work out a blended model of schooling involving part time at school and part time at home. Clearly more details will be available on all of these measures soon.
The First Minister ended by repeating the restrictions: “Except for essential purposes – exercise, going to essential work that can’t be done at home, or getting food or medicine you should stay at home.
“You can now exercise more than once a day – but please stay more than 2 metres from other people. And don’t yet meet up with people from other households.
“Please wear a face covering if you are in an enclosed space like a shop or on public transport. And you should wash your hands thoroughly and regularly.
“Finally, if you have symptoms, or someone else in your household has symptoms of COVID-19, isolate completely.
“I know how hard these restrictions are. And I know that hearing me talk about easing them as we head into a bank holiday weekend, will make all of this seem even tougher.
“But we need to stick with it for a few more days. And if we do, I really hope that this time next week when I’m standing here telling you all to have I nice weekend, I’ll also be telling you to enjoy, for the first time in a long while, seeing some family or friends over the weekend – as long as you do it outdoors and remember to stay physically distanced.”
Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said on Friday that the police were continuing to operate on a policing by consent basis, and he praised the public for sticking to the rules around coronavirus. He said:”Again I thank all officers and staff and their families. Because of the self-discipline of most of us we can look forward to phases of transition. Inevitably we will move to more of a guidance and advice role. I am clear that we will continue to police with courtesy and fairness. It is right to look forward to the summer months and getting out and about. But this weekend the rules remain the same. As a last resort the police will enforce the law over this coming week until the rules change. We do know some people are particularly vulnerable while at home. We have worked with the third sector to ensure that victims are given the support they need. We are here to help you 24 hours a day.
“The rules have not changed in Scotland. Please stick with it and hopefully we will have some weeks of relaxing the rules to look forward to.”
National Clinical Director Jason Leitch reminded everyone of the important things we all have to do. He said these are five basic things which have not changed and will become even more important next Thursday.
1 Wash your hands for 20 seconds or use an alcohol based gel.
2 Keep 2 metres distance from others. Wear a face covering in public settings.
3 Avoid touching your eyes nose and mouth. This can transfer the virus from surfaces.
4. Cover your mouth or nose with your bent elbow. Use a tissue and then bin it.
5. Clean all surfaces with a cleaner or anti bacterial wipes regularly
Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw said that every phase of the exit plan will be dependent on adequate testing systems being put in place. He said that since the outbreak, The Scottish Government has been severely criticised for not testing enough people, not using capacity properly, and not getting the tests out to the people who need them most.
And last weekend, it was reported that not a single contact tracer had been recruited, despite promises to hire 2000 by the end of the month. The First Minister said yesterday, the day when applications for jobs with the Contact Trace Team closed, that 660 people were already in post, and that Scotland would have 2,000 in place by June. She said that 750 were at various stages of the appointment process and that 25,000 people had already expressed interest in the roles.
Mr Carlaw continued: “We all want to exit lockdown as soon and as safely as possible, for the sake of the economy and for the physical and mental health of the nation.
“And while many of the plans outlined today are welcome and give cause for optimism, they will only succeed if the SNP get testing absolutely right.
“Unfortunately, failings on testing so far have been the weakest aspect of this SNP government response to the coronavirus crisis.
“Tens of thousands of tests have gone unused and there have been major problems in getting tests to the vulnerable people who need them most, and those who work with them.
“And now we learn that the health secretary badly misled the public on the issue of elderly people being discharged from hospital to care homes without being tested for Covid-19.
“The SNP has to significantly up its game on coronavirus testing, otherwise every stage of this lockdown exit will be put in grave jeopardy.”