COVID-19: What are the new coronavirus rules in Scotland? What areas are moving to Level 1?

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a "slight slowing down" in the lifting of lockdown rules for much of Scotland amid the spread of the Indian variant of coronavirus.

This means not all areas of the nation will see a further reopening at the next stage of Scotland’s easing of COVID measures.

However, some parts of the country will enjoy looser rules from Saturday.

Here’s what’s happening:

Staying at Level 2

As part of Ms Sturgeon’s "pause" of lockdown lifting, the vast majority of Scotland’s central belt will remain in Level 2 restrictions.

Edinburgh city, Midlothian, Dundee city, East Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, North, South and East Ayrshire, North and South Lanarkshire, Clackmannanshire and Stirling have not yet met the criteria to see restrictions ease, the first minister said.

Ms Sturgeon added there could even have been an argument to move these areas into Level 3 restrictions, given the raw figures on COVID cases, but the impact of the vaccination programme had meant this would not be needed.

Previously, the Scottish government had aimed to move most of Scotland to Level 1 restrictions from next week.

Moving from Level 3 to Level 2

Last month, while most of Scotland moved to Level 2 restrictions, Glasgow was left under Level 3 measures due to an "uncomfortably high" number of COVID cases.

However, from Saturday, the city will move down to Level 2 restrictions as Ms Sturgeon said the outbreak there had stabilised with case numbers falling slightly.

Under Level 2 restrictions, pubs, bars and restaurants in the city will be allowed to serve alcohol indoors, six people from three households can meet inside homes and stay overnight, and people will be able to hug loved ones.

With all of Scotland now set to move to Level 2 and below, it also means the ending of travel restrictions both within Scotland and between Scotland and England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Under Scotland’s tiered restrictions, people must not enter a Level 3 or 4 area unless they have a permitted reason like going to work or caring for a vulnerable person.

Moving from Level 2 to Level 1

Despite the "pause" in lockdown lifting for many areas, other local authorities will see COVID measures lifted from Saturday.

These are Highland, Argyll & Bute, Aberdeen city and Aberdeenshire, Moray, Angus, Perth & Kinross, Falkirk, Fife, Inverclyde, East and West Lothian, West Dunbartonshire, Dumfries & Galloway and the Borders.

This means up to eight people from three households can meet indoors in a public place like a cafe, pub or restaurant, while up to 12 people from 12 households can meet outdoors in a private garden or a public place.

Soft play centres and funfairs will also be able to open.

Moving from Level 1 to Level 0

Those islands currently in Level 1 will move to Level 0 from Saturday.

These are Orkney, Shetland, Na h-Eileanan Siar, all islands in Highland except Skye, and the Argyll and Bute islands of Coll, Colonsay, Erraid, Gometra, Iona, Islay, Jura, Mull, Oronsay, Tiree and Ulva.

Under Level 1 restrictions, there is even greater freedom on social mixing with eight people from four households able to gather in private homes, 10 people from four households able to gather in cafe, pubs and restaurants, and up to 15 people from 15 households able to meet outdoors.

All leisure and entertainment businesses – apart from nightclubs and adult entertainment venues – can also open.

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