Legally enforced physical distancing will be scrapped in Scotland and nightclubs can reopen from next Monday.
But once again, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed face coverings will remain mandatory in indoor settings and are likely to be compulsory “for some time to come”.
– What is changing on August 9?
No venues will be legally required to close in a “significant and hard-earned” change which means nightclubs can reopen.
The “careful return of large-scale events” will be accompanied by a continued requirement for permission to be sought for outdoor events of more than 5,000 and indoor events of more than 2,000.
An adult identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 will not automatically need to self-isolate for 10 days.
If someone is double-vaccinated – with at least two weeks having passed since the second dose – and they are asymptomatic and have a negative PCR test, they can end self-isolation. Similar changes are being proposed for under-17s.
– What is staying the same?
Test and Protect will continue to contact-trace positive cases, meaning pubs and restaurants must continue to collect customer details.
2,503,237 people in Scotland have been tested for #coronavirus
The total confirmed as positive has risen by 1,016 to 348,018
Sadly 9 more patients who tested positive have died (7,952 in total)
— Scottish Government (@scotgov) August 3, 2021
Face masks in shops and public transport will remain mandatory and while there will be no law ensuring physical distance, Ms Sturgeon continued to urge caution.
She said the Scottish Government will advise the public to keep a safe distance from people in other households – especially indoors – and avoid crowded places to minimise risk.
And while it was thought businesses would start to be encouraged to get staff back into offices, the advice to work from home where possible will remain in place.
– What about schools?
Face coverings will also have to be worn during lessons by secondary school pupils.
One-metre social distancing for staff will be retained for at least six weeks once schools reopen after the summer holidays.
But the “blanket isolation” of whole classes of schoolchildren will no longer be routine and “instead a more targeted approach will identify close contacts at highest risk of infection”.
NS: "Today’s decisions are, in my view, positive. They are possible only because of vaccination and the prolonged sacrifices of people across the country. Once again, I want to convey my deep appreciation of that."
— The SNP (@theSNP) August 3, 2021
– Is there anything new?
Ms Sturgeon highlighted the possible and limited use of Covid status certificates through an app which is currently being developed.
It would include vaccination details and is set to be launched next month, making international travel easier and to support domestic use if any decision is made on that front.
However, she added: “I can assure Parliament that we do not underestimate the ethical, equity and human rights issues associated with Covid status certification and will keep members updated and consulted on our thinking on this issue.”
She also said the reason restrictions can be lifted on Monday was “only because of vaccination and the prolonged sacrifices of people” and that “we are now in a different stage of this pandemic”.