On Thursday 9th July, First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced Scotland’s transition into Phase 3 and outlined the further easing of restrictions coming into effect on the 10th of July and throughout the month.

Since publishing the Route Map in May, the Scottish Government have continually reviewed and assessed the scientific and medical data so as to ease Scotland through the four phased plan as efficiently and safely as possible. The R number, the rate a virus spreads within the population, has remained low and the decision has been made to enter Phase 3 and continue with the reopening of a key range of industries and activities.

From the 10th July, a household can now meet up to 4 other households at a time – up to 15 people in total – outdoors, with restrictions on indoor visits also increasing to 8 people in total. This includes overnight stays and a household can meet up to 4 other households per day in total.

Children aged 11 or under no longer need to physically distance indoors and all non-cohabiting partners (and any children under 18 in the household) can form extended households without physical distancing.

From Monday 13th July, non-essential shops inside shopping centres can re-open (following guidance and with physical distancing) and all dental practices may begin to see registered patients for non-aerosol routine care with urgent care centres continuing to provide aerosol generating procedures when necessary.

Organised outdoor contact sports, play and physical activity can resume for children and young people under 18 and face-to-face youth work can resume outdoors so long as the relevant guidance is followed.

From Wednesday 15th July, places of worship can re-open for congregational services, communal prayer and contemplation with physical distancing and limited numbers in place, while restrictions on attendance at funerals, marriage ceremonies and civil partnership registrations will also be eased.

Indoor hospitality, hairdressers and barbers, and various leisure and entertainment venues such as museums, cinemas, and libraries have also been given the green light to reopen on the 15th, subject to all physical distancing and enhance hygiene rules and guidance.

Following this announcement, Paisley’s MSP George Adam, said:

“I am sure this will be wonderful news to many industries across Scotland, and will certainly be welcomed by everyone here in Paisley who has been experiencing the isolation and loneliness that has unfortunately gone hand in hand with the last few months of lockdown.

“I am especially pleased to see places of worship reopening next week along with the easing of restrictions on funeral attendance as I know this has been something that has been particularly difficult for families and friends of those who have passed away during these unprecedented circumstances. While the changes coming into effect next week will not allow full scale gatherings, I am hopeful they will allow more people to find solace and peace at a time of grief.

“As we move into Phase 3, it’s important that we all recognise the virus has not gone away. As we have seen in other parts of the world, when given the chance, it can re-establish itself quickly no matter how carefully we open up so we must all continue to act with the upmost care and caution.

“Our continued, positive progress has allowed us to get to this point safely and efficiently so it is important we don’t abuse these new freedoms and all do our bit in making sure we keep moving forward together.”