The Scottish government has paused the next set of changes to the country’s lockdown rules and toughened some existing measures.
The reopening of indoor soft play areas, theatres and live music venues has been delayed until at least 5 October, along with the resumption of indoor contact sports for those aged 12 and over.
The rules on meeting other people are also being tightened to reduce the size of gatherings. So what are the current rules – and what else is going to change?
What are the rules on meeting people?
From Monday 14 September, it will only be possible for a maximum of six people from two households to meet together – either indoors or outdoors.
The new regulations will apply in restaurants, pubs and beer gardens, as well as in people’s homes and gardens.
While the changes legally come into effect from Monday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has asked people to follow the new rules straight away.
If children aged under 12 are part of the two households, they will not count towards the limit of six people.
There will also be exceptions for organised sports and places of worship, and for funerals, weddings and civil partnerships.
There will be no change to the rule which allows 20 people to attend these ceremonies, and the same limit will now apply to wakes and receptions in regulated venues like hotels.
People should still be following the 2m distancing rules when gathering together.
Restrictions have already been tightened in Glasgow, East and West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, where more than a million people are being advised not to visit other households indoors.
In addition, new police powers to break up house parties with more than 15 people will also be extended to cover parties in student accommodation from 14 September.
- Until now, it had been possible for eight people from three different households to meet indoors and for up to 15 people from five different households to meet outdoors.
When could the next changes happen?
A number of other changes which had originally been planned for 14 September have now been pushed back to 5 October – and will depend on the outcome of a review on 1 October.
They include reopening indoor soft play areas, theatres and indoor live music venues, and the reopening of sports stadia for limited numbers of spectators.
It also includes indoor contact sports for people aged over 12.
Gyms, swimming pools and indoor sports courts have been allowed to reopen since 31 August.
There will be a further review on 1 October before a decision is taken on when non-essential offices and call centres can resume operations.
- Since March 23, soft play centres have been fully closed in Scotland and the message throughout the pandemic has been “work at home where possible”.
What can I go out and do?
Pubs, cafes and restaurants have reopened both indoor and outdoor spaces.
They can seek an exemption from the 2m distancing rule indoors, but will have to warn customers that they are entering a 1m zone, produce revised seating plans, and take steps such as improving ventilation.
Guidance on physical distancing have to be followed, and customers have to provide their contact details.
It will become the law that customers must wear face coverings in hospitality venues while moving around and when they are not eating or drinking. It will also be mandatory for staff to wear face coverings.
At the point all shops were allowed to reopen, face coverings became compulsory. That is also the case for buses, trains, trams, planes and taxis.
There are no longer restrictions on how far you can travel in Scotland. The level of services on public transport have been scaling up, although there is still reduced capacity.
Holiday accommodation has also reopened, along with museums, galleries, cinemas, monuments and libraries.
Outdoor markets had earlier been allowed to open, along with outdoor sports courts and playgrounds, zoos and garden attractions.
Hairdressers, barbers, beauticians and nail salons were allowed to reopen, with enhanced hygiene measures.
Professional sport has been allowed to resume behind closed doors, although fans are being allowed to attend some test events. Two pilot events due to take place at SPFL matches this weekend will still go ahead.
People of all ages have been able to take part in organised outdoor contact sports since 24 August.
Bingo halls, amusement arcades, casinos, funfairs and snooker halls were also allowed to reopen, and driving lessons could resume.
Live events such as concerts and comedy can take place outdoors, with physical distancing, enhanced hygiene and restricted audience numbers.
- The opening up of Scotland has been gradual since the start of the summer. The new restrictions on the number of people who can gather will not result in hospitality and sports venues which are currently open – including pubs, restaurants and gyms – being closed again.
What else has changed?
Children returned to school from 11 August, although in many areas there was a phased return over the first week.
Pupils and staff must now wear face coverings when moving about within secondary schools.
Universities and colleges can introduce a phased return to on-campus learning, as part of a blended model with remote teaching.
Opticians are able to carry out routine eye care services – including regular eye exams – in community optometry premises and in people’s homes.
Dentists have been able to expand their services to offer urgent treatment which involves aerosols.
Counselling services, such as drug and alcohol support groups, are now able to provide essential services.
Places of worship have reopened for communal prayer and services, although numbers are limited, singing and chanting is restricted, and those attending need to give their contact details.
- Although indoor and outdoor rules are becoming tighter, worshippers are still able to gather for services with distancing and mask wearing in operation.