Key points: The four phases of easing lockdown in Scotland


The Scottish Government has unveiled its four phase planned route out of lockdown.

Phase one is scheduled to begin on May 28, with the review cycle concluding on June 18. However, First Minster Nicola Sturgeon warned it “would be a mistake” to give definite dates for each stage.

Here are the key points for each of the four phases.

– Phase One:

Expected to begin as of Thursday May 28.

People will be able to use outdoor spaces for relaxing as well as for meeting one other household at a time.

There will be a gradual opening of drive-through food outlets as well as garden centres.

Outdoor activities which do not involve physical contact will be allowed locally – including golf, hiking, canoeing, outdoor swimming and angling.

Playing golf locally will be allowed under phase one (PA)

Staff will be able to return to schools, while there will be additional critical childcare provision, including the reopening of childminding services and outdoor nurseries. Key workers will be prioritised.

Plans are in place for the “safe” reopening of the housing market, although no details were given in the Scottish Government’s report as to what this would mean.

Outdoor workplaces will resume with physical distancing measures in place once guidance is agreed, and the construction sector should implement the first two phases of its restart plan.

NHS primary and community services – including mental health – will restart. There will be a resumption of IVF treatment as soon as it is “safe to do so”. Consideration will also be given for the introduction of designated visitors to care homes.

Court and tribunal buildings should reopen, with limited business and public access.

– Phase Two:

This will begin once the transmission rate – known as the R number – is “consistently” below one. The country must also meet the six criteria set out by the World Health Organisation for easing restrictions.

When phase two begins, people will be able to meet up with larger groups of family and friends outdoors, while maintaining physical distancing. People will also be able to meet up with another household indoors.

Workplaces which are not in offices are expected to open with safety measures in place. This would include factories and warehouses, as well as lab and research facilities.

Bridal shop
Weddings can take place with limited guests during phase two (PA)

Pubs and restaurants will be able to open outdoor spaces with social distancing measures in place. Outdoor markets, small retail units, sports courts and playgrounds will reopen.

Marriages, civil partnerships and other types of ceremonies can take place with a limited number of attendees. Places of worship would be able to open for private prayer.

There will be a phased resumption of visiting to care homes by family members in a managed way.

– Phase Three:

People will be able to leave their local area for leisure and exercise. Gyms will be reopened with physical distancing in place.

More than two households will be able to meet up indoors as long as safety measures are adhered to, such as social distancing.

Children will return to school – scheduled for August 11 – under a blended model of part-time in-school teaching and part-time in-home learning. There will also be a phased return for universities and colleges with a mix of remote learning and limited on-campus learning where a priority.

Pubs, restaurants and large retailers will be able to reopen with physical distancing and hygiene measures in place.

All schools will reopen but a new blended model of in-class and at-home learning will be brought in (PA)

Museums, galleries, cinemas and libraries will also reopen. Live events will be permitted with restricted numbers. Hairdressers will also be able to return to work.

Restrictions on funeral attendance, marriages, civil partnership and other services will be eased to include those beyond the close family.

– Phase Four:

This will begin once the virus remains suppressed to very low levels and is no longer considered a significant threat to public health.

Public transport will be fully operating but physical distancing may remain in place.

Schools, childcare provision, college and university campuses will be fully open with any necessary precautions in place.

Closed pub
Pubs and restaurants can reopen their indoor spaces under phase four (PA)

Remote and flexible working will remain encouraged, although all types of workplaces will reopen in line with public health advice.

All types of outlets – pubs, restaurants and shops – would be open in line with public health advice.

Mass gatherings can resume in line with public health advice, while all ceremonies can take place with any necessary precautions.

The full range of health and social care services would be provided with greater use of technology.

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