Social gatherings will be limited to groups of six from two households both indoors and outdoors, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
During the latest lockdown review, Ms Sturgeon said people would only now be able to meet up in groups of six – whether inside or outside.
She said: “We have concluded that it is necessary to tighten some existing restrictions, to help curb the spread of the virus especially between and within households.
“As of now, up to eight people from three households can meet indoors. Larger outdoor gatherings are also permitted.
“I can confirm that we intend to change this, so that a maximum of six people from two households will now be permitted to meet together.”
She added: “To help reduce transmission – but also simplify the rules as much as possible – this new limit will apply both indoors, in houses, in pubs and restaurants, and also outdoors including in private gardens.”
There will be some “limited exceptions” for the new limit of six people in any gathering, for organised sports and places of worship.
Any children under 12 who are part of two households meeting up would not count towards the limit of six people.
Ms Sturgeon said she was asking people to follow the new rules immediately, although the regulations that give them legal force will come into effect from Monday.
The announcement comes as she confirmed the country would not be moving to the next phase of lockdown easing.
As a result reopenings the first minister had previously indicated could take place from September 14 would have to be put on hold for a further three week.
She said: “Taking account of all the most up-to-date information we have, it is the Scottish Government’s judgment that we cannot at this stage risk the new opportunities for transmission of Covid that reopening further services and facilities would entail.”
She added: “Unfortunately, due to the rise in cases we have seen since then, we have concluded that these changes must be paused for a further three weeks.”
She said that the decision “means, unfortunately, spectators will not be able to return to sports stadia and other venues over the next three weeks” with a new indicative date given of October 5.
The decision also affects theatres, live music venues and indoor soft play facilities.
Ms Sturgeon added given the rise in Covid-19 cases, putting these moves back was “the only responsible decision we can reach”.
She said the reopening of call centres and offices where staff are still working from home would “definitely not take place” before October 1 – when this will be reviewed.
“For now, working from home will remain the default position,” Ms Sturgeon said.
A total of 161 people have tested positive for coronavirus across Scotland in the past 24 hours, the latest figures show. A 22,039 people have now tested positive for the virus in Scotland.
These cases are 1.9% of people newly tested, no change on the previous day.
No more deaths of confirmed patients have been recorded in the past 24 hours and this toll remains at 2,499.
Of the new cases, provisional figures indicate 65 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 46 in Lanarkshire and 12 in Lothian.
There are 266 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, a fall of eight in 24 hours.
Of these patients, seven were in intensive care, up by one.