On Thursday 2nd July, the First Minister detailed plans to relax certain restrictions as we enter the second stage of Phase 2 and prepare to transition into Phase 3 over the coming weeks. These increased freedoms are dependent on the ‘R’ number – the rate of infection spread within the community – remaining low.
As of Friday 3th July, outside cafés and beer gardens will be allowed to reopen with strict physical distancing and hygiene measures in place, alongside the reopening of self-contained holiday homes such as caravan parks and camping sites where residents do not share common spaces or facilities.
Travel restrictions have also been relaxed throughout Scotland – with the exception of certain postcodes in Dumfries and Galloway where infection rates have recently risen – permitting journeys of over 5 miles for leisure purposes. Children under 11 years old have also been given the green light to play and socialise with other children and their families without observing a 2m distance as the medical evidence suggests children are at much lower risk of COVID-19.
While the First Minister acknowledged this will be a welcome announcement to many, she has urged for caution and care to be upheld at all times to avoid spread and transition to Scotland’s rural and island communities, or to those still at risk of infection and complications.
Places of worship and the conditions under which they will be able to reopen for communal prayer will be clarified next week as the First Minister continues to discuss with Scotland’s main faith groups ways in which some semblance of normality can be resumed.
Alongside the relaxation of certain restrictions, face coverings in shops will become mandatory as of the 10th of July to protect both staff and customers and society at large, with the public urged to use face coverings on voluntary basis until then.
Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, said:
“I’m sure like many in Paisley, I welcome the First Minister’s recent briefing and the announcement that outdoor restaurants, cafés and beer gardens have been given the go ahead to reopen. I am certain this will not only make a massive difference to business owners, employees and the economy in general, but also to those experiencing loneliness and isolation who are now able to socialise locally.
“Likewise I am sure the reopening of caravan parks and the freedom for holiday makers to travel to second homes and other self-contained holiday units will be a blessing after months of lockdown – especially with the school holidays in full swing – and allow many families to spend time with their kids away from home safely.
“While I am incredibly pleased that Scotland is making quick progress in containing coronavirus to allow these new measures to come into effect; it is vital that we all keep taking the necessary precautions and follow the guidance as best as we can to avoid a second spike and the need for further restrictions in the future.
“With increased freedoms it can be easy to get complacent and forget we are still very much in the middle of a global pandemic. The Scottish Government’s way is working and the statistics are proving that – but we must all keep doing our bit, observe social distancing and keep personal hygiene high to protect our communities and continue saving lives.”