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Covid rules ease today in Scotland as infections soar

Rules are changing in Scotland.

Restrictions except face coverings are being eased from today despite record levels of coronavirus.

Contact tracing curbs on retailers are being lifted two years after the pandemic up-ended normal life.

Social distancing in gyms is being abandoned.

International travel rules were ditched on March 18.

Despite the move to “normality”, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said last week Scots will continue to need face coverings on public transport and some indoor venues.

The rule will be reviewed on Tuesday March 29.

Covid-19 is at record levels with as many as one in 14 people infected last week.

Around 376,300 people likely to have had the virus last week, a new high in Scotland.

There are also concerns high streets are being left to pick up the pieces without enough financial support.

Ms Sturgeon is being asked to adopt a voucher scheme to get people spending.

How are the rules changing?

Contact tracing is finished from today. Familiar QR codes and track-and-trace apps will not be required.

Shops and gyms will not need one-way systems, hand gel on arrival or floor markings and screens.

Legal requirements will change to “strong guidance” so some businesses will be able to run without Covid protections in place.

Places of worship can also remove special measures but people will need to wear face masks, including when singing in a congregation.

Rules on international travel were lifted on Friday March 18 at 4am so people no longer to complete a passenger locator or show proof of vaccination status.

Testing will be wound down.

What happens to Covid testing?

From April 18, people who have no symptoms will not be asked to do regular lateral flow tests.

People in health care will still be offered the tests.

Anyone with symptoms should still isolate and get a PCR test until the end of April.

Calls to get economy moving

Labour want the Scottish Government to use the landmark moment to bring in more support for business.

The party previously suggested £50 vouchers for people to use in “bricks and mortar” shops, not online giants such as Amazon.

Union Street in Aberdeen during lockdown.

Holyrood finance spokesman Daniel Johnson said: “The challenges facing Scotland’s economy didn’t start with Covid and they won’t end today.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman there will be a “ruthless focus” on working with business and industry.

“We are all too aware of the impact the Covid pandemic has had – and continues to have – on retailers, high streets and on the economy,” the spokeswoman said.

“That is why, since the start of the pandemic, businesses have benefited from more than £4.5 billion in support.

“We are taking action to help retailers and communities recover – not least through our £80 million Economic Recovery Fund and the forthcoming Retail Strategy.”

“We will also listen carefully to any constructive suggestions on what further steps we might take.”

Covid in Scotland: Here’s how the rules are changing from March 21

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