Following the First Minister’s announcement on the 23rd February, Paisley’s MSP is hopeful the ‘slow and steady’ approach taken by the Scottish Government will ensure Scotland returns to some semblance of normality as safely and effectively as possible.

While the top priority remains the gradual reopening of schools – with all primary pupils set to be back in class from March 15th, and high school students following on April 5th – it is expected that there will also be some easing of social restrictions over the next six weeks if it remains safe to do so.

On the basis that progress in suppressing the virus and vaccinating key groups remains on track, four people from two households will be allowed to meet outdoors from March 15th and the stay at home order is set to be lifted from April 5th.

By April 26th the levels system of restrictions would then be reintroduced which would allow non-essential retail, pubs, restaurants, gyms and other leisure facilities to reopen – alongside less restrictions on socialisation.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“I know how hard current restrictions are after 11 long months of this pandemic, however they are working and we can now see our way out of them. We are in a far better position now than at the start of January and these measures are initial steps on a slow, but hopefully steady, route back to much greater normality.

“Our intent remains to suppress the virus to the lowest possible level and keep it there, while we strive to return to a more normal life for as many people as possible.

“At the moment, and for a bit longer, we need to rely very heavily on restrictions to suppress the virus. This is essential when the virus is so transmissible, and when case numbers are still quite high. In time though – once the vast majority of the adult population has received at least one dose of the vaccine – we hope that vaccination will become our main tool for suppressing the virus.

“The Strategic Framework is deliberately cautious at this stage but in the coming weeks, if the data allows and positive trends continue, we will seek to accelerate the easing of restrictions.”

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, said:

“I fully support the First Minister’s careful and cautious approach to the easing of restrictions and am hopeful that this updated Strategic Framework will allow us to get back to doing the things we love as safely and quickly as possible.

“I know how challenging this past year has been for so many of us here in Paisley and I know it could be tempting to start bending the rules as the number of COVID cases starts to reduce – but it is vital at this point that we do not act rashly and follow the slow and steady plan set out by the First Minister for the best chance of long term virus suppression and success.”