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Thu, 9 July 2020

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Nicola Sturgeon confirms Scots will be able to meet in groups of 8 under new lockdown easing plans

Nicola Sturgeon confirms Scots will be able to meet in groups of 8 under new lockdown easing plans

Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed lockdown restrictions in Scotland will be eased from tomorrow

3 min read

Nicola Sturgeon has said groups of up to 8 will be allowed to meet as long as they stay outside, under new plans for lifting lockdown restrictions.

The First Minister revealed the measures as she confirmed the first stage of her four step "routemap" for easing the lockdown would come into force on Friday.

Under the new guidelines, two households will be allowed to meet in groups of up to eight provided they remain outdoors and follow social distancing guidelines.

Meanwhile, Ms Sturgeon said the "careful and cautious" steps would see Scots allowed to spend more time outside, including taking part in sports such as golf, tennis and fishing.

Unveiling the measures, she said: "You and your household will be able to meet another household out of doors  - for example in a park, or in a private garden.

"We said last week this should be in small groups. We're asking the total number of people between the two households should be a maximum of eight - please keep it to less than that if you can.

"We're not saying you must pick one household - but we are saying you should not meet more than one household at a time."

Garden centers and tips will also be allowed to reopen under the plans, while most "outdoor work" will be able to resume.

And the SNP leader said teachers would now be asked to prepare for pupils to return to the classroom on 11 August with a mix of school and home teaching.

Her announcement comes ahead of a planned review of lockdown measures in England, where currently only two people from different households are allowed to meet.

UK Government ministers are also expected to reveal whether some pupils in England will be asked to return to schools on 1 June following a row with teachers unions over the safety of the plans.

Meanwhile, Ms Sturgeon said she had given a green light to the measures after a "sustained and unmistakeable" drop in infections in the country, but added: "I don't mind admitting to you that, as we take these first steps, I do feel a bit nervous.

"No changes are risk-free and there are no certainties in any of this, but I’ve also said that I wanted to make sure that with every step we do take then the ground beneath our feet is as solid as possible, and that’s what we are taking care to ensure."

She added: "I worry that the limited changes that we're making to these rules might lead to much greater change in reality and so I really need your help to make sure that is not the case."

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