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Staycations allowed from the end of next week, hairdressers and pubs to reopen on July 15 as Scotland comes out of lockdown

Nicola Sturgeon announced milestone dates for getting out of lockdown.
Nicola Sturgeon announced milestone dates for getting out of lockdown.

Hairdressers, pubs and cinemas will reopen on July 15 and people will be able to go on self-catered staycations from the end of next week, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The first minister said also households will be able to meet indoors from next month when she announced a series of dates for easing the coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

The “milestone” dates, which depend on continued suppression of the virus, were unveiled as the Scottish Government faced criticism for lagging behind elsewhere in the UK on the relaxation of measures.

Addressing MSPs at Holyrood, Ms Sturgeon defended her decision to go slower, saying she would not be drawn into a “reckless race” with the rest of the UK.

But Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw said Scotland was two weeks behind other parts of Britain and warned the delay would cost the tourism sector millions and drive business elsewhere.

Jackson Carlaw claimed the slow pace of change would harm business.

Ms Sturgeon said the two-metre rule on social distancing remained the “clear advice” despite plans to relax it in England shortly.

The dates were announced as National Records of Scotland (NRS) data revealed there had been 4,119 Scottish coronavirus deaths up until this weekend.

Of those, 49 were registered in the seven days up to Sunday, a decrease from 69 the week before and the lowest weekly total since lockdown began.

July 3: Five-mile travel restrictions lifted and reopening of self-catering holiday cottages

Updating her route map out of lockdown, the first minister said the five-mile travel restriction for leisure and recreation would be lifted on July 3.

At the same time “self-contained” holiday accommodation like holiday cottages, caravans and lodges without shared services would open from the same date, enabling families to go on holiday.

The relaxation of those restrictions comes ahead of existing plans to fully open the tourism sector on July 15.

Making the announcement, Ms Sturgeon made a plea for holiday makers to use “good judgement”. People should abide by the rules applying to households meeting up and be “sensitive” to those living in island and rural communities.

July 6: Beer gardens reopen

After the abandonment of plans to reopen beer gardens last week, the first minister said they and other outdoor hospitality areas would finally get back to business on Monday July 6.

July 10: More opportunities for meeting up with others

From July 10 families will be able to meet indoors with up to a maximum of two other households with physical distancing. Outdoors, people will be allowed to meet in extended groups, again with physical distancing.

July 13: More shopping and sports

Organised sports for children and young people will restart from July 13. On the same date non-essential shops inside shopping centres will resume business. Non-aerosol routine care dental care will return.

July 15: The return of proper haircuts and drinking in pubs

The next key date will be July 15 when hairdressers and barbers will reopen – an announcement that resulted in cheers and applause across the parliamentary chamber.

At the same time, pubs and restaurants will be able to serve customers indoors on a limited basis and subject to guidance.

Early learning and childcare services will be able to resume but it is likely capacity will remain restricted to begin with.

With July 15 already established as the date for opening up the tourism sector, all holiday accommodation including hotels will open up then.

Museums, galleries, monuments, cinemas and libraries will also be able to reopen with some precautions in place – for example, tickets being secured in advance.

At this stage there are no targets for the lifting of restrictions on weddings and funerals. Similarly, there was no detail on the reopening of theatres, bingo halls, nightclubs, casinos and other entertainment venues.

No dates have been announced for the resumption of communal worship, indoor live entertainment venues, outdoor live events “under certain conditions”, and indoor gyms. Changes to these activities are unlikely to take effect before July 23.

Carlaw says change is not quick enough

But at First Minister’s Questions, Mr Carlaw argued that Scotland was not coming out of lockdown quickly enough. The Tory leader quoted Crieff Hydro chief executive Stephen Leckie, who had said the thought of customers going to countries other than Scotland was “gut wrenching”.

I am not prepared to do that in some kind of reckless race with other parts of the UK.”

Nicola Sturgeon

But Ms Sturgeon said the risk of the virus getting out of control again put livelihoods and lives at risk.

“I am not prepared to do that in some kind of reckless race with other parts of the UK,” the first minister said.

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