Most legal coronavirus restrictions in Scotland are to be lifted on 9 Augustus, first minister Nicola Sturgeon has told the Scottish Parliament.
Ms Sturgeon made the announcement of Scotland’s “Freedom Day” in a video statement to the Holyrood assembly, which has been virtually recalled from its summer break.
From Monday, legal requirements for social distancing and limits on the size of social gatherings and access to venues will be removed, said the first minister.
Maar, unlike in England, face-coverings will still be required in all the indoor settings where they are currently used, and are likely to be legally mandated “for some time to come”.
And she said the Scottish government continues to advise people to work from home where possible.
Intussen, the Scottish government continues to consider the use of vaccine passports for access to some events domestically, using the same app which is being developed for those needing to prove vaccine status when travelling abroad.
While the removal of all parts of Scotland from the “level zero” restrictions currently in effect will “restore a substantial degree of normality”, she warned that it was important to be clear that “it does not signal the end of the pandemic or a return to life exactly as we knew it before Covid struck”.
“Declaring freedom from, or victory over, this virus is premature,” said Ms Sturgeon.
“The harm the virus can do, including through the impact of long Covid, should not be underestimated. And its ability to mutate may yet pose us real challenges.”
Ms Sturgeon said that the move out of lockdown was possible only because of the vaccination campaign and the “prolonged sacrifices” of members of the public.
Sy het gese: “The last year has reminded all of us just how precious some of the simplest things in life really are, and many of us, ek vermoed, will resolve not to take them quite so much for granted in future.
“The best way of doing that in the short term, is to continue to be careful, cautious and sensible, even as legal restrictions are lifted.
“The government will continue to provide guidance to help get that balance right.
“We all hope – I know I certainly do – that the restrictions we lift next Monday will never again have to be reimposed, but no-one can guarantee that.
“This virus remains a threat and as we enter winter, it may well pose challenges for as again.”
Ms Sturgeon said it remains a “sensible precaution” to keep some distance from people in other households and avoid crowed indoor places, even though these steps are no longer legally mandated.
“Enjoy being able to do more and meet up more – we’ve all waited a long time for that," sy het gese.
“But please protect yourself as you do so, principally through vaccination, and continue to take the greatest of care. If we all do that, we will increase our chances of keeping the virus under control, we will protect ourselves and our loved ones and we will safely and securely return to the ways of life that we all value so much.”