First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has delivered Scotland’s 3 weekly update this lunchtime and it is confirmed that we will REMAIN in this current phase 3.
A move to phase 4 would require government to be satisfied that the virus is no longer a threat and unfortunately this is far from the case. It has been suggested Phase 4 will likely go well beyond even the next 3 weekly phase.
There was a lot to cover in this update, so here are the highlights. The Scottish Government website will have further detail and answers.
Changes around Shielding
From 1st August
Pause advice for people to shield. From Saturday, those shielding can follow the same guidelines as the rest of the population.
Decision on Schools
The Scottish Government can confirm schools WILL return from 11th August. Some local authorities may opt for a phased return over the first few days, but it is expected ALL pupils will be returned full time from 18th August.
This decision was made based on medical guidance and it is confirmed that distancing will not be required for primary pupils, though will be for secondary.
A £75million fund has been put aside so that an additional 1,400 teachers can be recruited. The government has issued a promise to all children, they will not be forgotten and that getting their education back on track will be an absolute priority.
Other Changes taking place in August
From Monday, routine eye inspectsion can take place. Sports coaches can meet with groups of more than 4 households.
From 17th August, dental practices including aerosols can resume for emergency procedures.
From 24th August, outdoor events can resume, though further information and restrictions on this will be announced in due course. Driving lessons and fairgrounds will also resume on that day.
Non essential offices and call centres can expect to remain closed until at least mid September. Staying at home to work is as important as ever for now.
Gyms and Swimming Pools
Are still considered a risk. The indicative date for gyms and pools reopening is 14th September 2020. This is under review to try to open earlier if possible. Cultural centres will also re-open on this day.
The First Minister reiterated that Scotland is in a strong position by comparison to many other countries with our infection levels at a low. However, a reminder the virus is not away. Some countries, including those immediately beside us are seeing a second spike and therefore it is as important as ever to follow the guidelines.
Facemasks remain mandatory in shops unless you have a health condition affecting this. The message is, do not drop your guard now. Everytime a guideline is broken, is a route for the virus to come back. Be safe.
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