Nicola Sturgeon has said people can travel beyond their local area to visit family from next week but must use their judgement on whether it is safe to do so.
Looking ahead to the the easing of lockdown restrictions from Thursday, the first minister emphasised that people must stay outside when visiting and warned going to the bathroom could spread the coronavirus.
Ms Sturgeon said the distance to be travelled and the risk of needing the loo should be factored into decisions about calling on relatives.
Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government’s official guidance recommending that people should stay within five miles of their home for leisure and exercise would not apply to family visits.
She also clarified that the guidance does not limit families to restricting their meetings to just one other household.
“You can see different households, but we are asking you only to meet one at a time,” Ms Sturgeon said.
With the Bank Holiday weekend under way, the first minister urged the public to “stick with” the Stay at Home message, reminding them that the lockdown will not be eased until Thursday.
Ms Sturgeon warned that “taking the foot off the break” over the weekend could jeopardise chances of restrictions being relaxed next week.
We are not intending to put a five-mile limit on the distance you can travel to, for example, sit with your parents in their garden, but we are asking you to use judgement.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
At her daily coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon sought to answer some questions that have been raised since the publication of the Scottish Government’s route map out of lockdown earlier this week.
The first minister also announced a further 24 deaths of people who had tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hours taking the total, under that measurement, to 2,245.
A total of 14,969 cases had been confirmed in Scotland, an increase of 113 from the day before and a total of 1,257 patients were in hospital with the virus.
The Scottish Government’s lockdown exiting strategy will result in the introduction of the first of four gradual phases next Thursday.
After that date people will be allowed to meet up with other households, as long it is one at a time outdoors while observing physical distancing.
Golf, bowls, tennis, fishing, hiking and canoeing will be allowed and outdoor work such as forestry and agriculture will resume.
The 45-page document, detailing the strategy, also contained the five-mile recommendation.
But Ms Sturgeon said: “We are not intending to put a five-mile limit on the distance you can travel to, for example, sit with your parents in their garden,” Ms Sturgeon said. “But we are asking you to use judgement.
“If, for example, you travel a long distance to see a relative outside, you’ll be more likely to go inside the house to use the bathroom.
“We don’t want you to go inside others’ houses in this phase because if you are infectious, maybe without knowing it, you risk leaving the virus on surfaces inside the house and that would pose a risk to other people, particularly if you’re visiting elderly relatives – that is a risk we don’t want you to take.”
It is about saying if your parents live in Inverness and your parents live in Glasgow then what it will require for you to practically visit them might be putting your parents at risk. Therefore, don’t do it for those reasons.”
Ms Sturgeon added that she was “desperate” to see her own parents, but the “last thing” she wanted to do was put them at risk.
“I’m desperate to see my parents, like everybody else, but the last thing I want to do – and I know others feel the same here – is put my parents at risk by inadvertently potentially passing them the virus,” she said.
The first minister was confident people would exercise good judgement. “It’s not me saying if your parents live in Inverness don’t go because I’m telling you not to go,” she said. “It is about saying if your parents live in Inverness and your parents live in Glasgow then what it will require for you to practically visit them might be putting your parents at risk. Therefore, don’t do it for those reasons.”
As Scotland gradually comes out of the lockdown, Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said police would not be stopping motorists to ask them where they were going to ensure they were abiding by the rules. Chief Constable Livingstone said road checks would be counterproductive and intrusive.
Scotland could need more contact tracers
Ms Sturgeon also said Scotland could need more than the 2,000 contact tracers being recruited to implement her test, trace and isolate strategy.
She said the Scottish Government is “on track” to have 2,000 contact tracers in place by June. She added that Scotland was “very close” to being able to process 15,000 tests for Covid-19 a day.
But Ms Sturgeon conceded more testing and tracers may be required, depending on “the requirements the virus places on us”.