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Article published 23/02/2021

Scotland’s phased and careful approach to easing lockdown restrictions while continuing to suppress coronavirus (COVID-19) has been outlined by the First Minister today (23 February). 

There is likely to be a gap of at least three weeks between each easing of restrictions to assess the impact of changes, and to check that it is safe to proceed further using the six conditions for safe easing set out by the World Health Organisation.

Planned easing of restrictions


Phase one (from 22 February)

This phase sees early learning and childcare and schools open for primary one – three pupils and some senior pupils. Care homes open to facilitate meaningful contact between relatives/friends and residents.

Phase two (from 15 March at the earliest)

Phase two will see the second phase of school reopening, a phased return of some university and college students, non-contact outdoor group sports for 12 – 17 year olds, and four people from two households can socialise outdoors.

Phase three (from 5 April at the earliest)

The stay at home requirement is removed, we’ll see the third and final phase of schools reopening, places of worship can open on a restricted basis, and the list of essential retailers to be expanded slightly, with click-and-collect resuming for non-essential retail.

Phase four (from 26 April at the earliest)

Plan to return to geographically variable levels approach to enable the gradual opening up of economic and social activity. It is hoped that all level four locations will move back to level three at this point, with a phased reopening of hospitality. Following this, the levels will be reviewed at three-week intervals.