Nicola Sturgeon has warned she may keep current lockdown restrictions in place to ensure children can return to school full-time in August.
The rules are due to be reviewed next Thursday.
But at her daily briefing the first minister said the review may not lead to the reopening of more businesses.
She said she wants to keep the virus at a low level so schools can “fully and safely reopen” and vulnerable people can stop shielding.
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In her latest briefing, Ms Sturgeon said she wanted to “inject a note of caution” about the possibility of easing more restrictions next week.
She said the Scottish government’s main focus was on reopening schools on 11 August and removing the requirement for shielding from 31 July.
“These two aims… are really important priorities and, to be frank, they are only achievable if levels of Covid in the community remain very low,” she said.
The Scottish government is obliged to review lockdown restrictions every three weeks.
Pointing to the Lanarkshire outbreak and the rising numbers of cases in some other countries, she said they needed to be “confident” it was safe to ease restrictions.
Ms Sturgeon said they would continue to review data and they would not make a final decision on lifting restrictions until next week.
But she added: “We cannot leave restrictions in place for longer than we judge to be necessary but I did want to flag up now that it is possible we may not be able to make any changes next week beyond confirming the return of schooling and a pause in shielding.
“And so for those businesses who are still waiting for a date to restart, I want to thank you for your ongoing patience.
“I fully understand how difficult any further delay is for you. I also hope you understand why we need to act safely and cautiously and prioritise the reopening of schools.”
Scotland spent three weeks in phase two of lockdown – when non-essential shops and beer gardens reopened – before moving into phase three on 10 July.
Since then, the tourism industry has reopened, people have been able to go inside pubs and restaurants, and hair and beauty salons have thrown open their doors.
What will happen in phase four?
- Further relaxation of rules on social gatherings
- Public transport operating full service
- All workplaces reopen in line with public health advice – but remote and flexible working continues to be encouraged
- Further relaxation of restrictions of live events
- Mass gatherings resume in line with public health advice
- Health and social care services continue to scale up
However there are still several sectors awaiting a firm re-opening date as part of phase three of lockdown.
Indoor gyms, theatres, non-essential offices and call centres, bingo halls are among those which have been told they will not open before 31 July.