New route map out of lockdown to be published next week

Nicola Sturgeon said phased reopening of economy ‘likely to be more cautious than last summer’

Easter staycations in Scotland are ‘highly unlikely’

A NEW route map out of lockdown is to be published by the Scottish Government next week, but first minister Nicola Sturgeon said a phased reopening of the economy is “likely to be even more cautious than it was last summer”.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament today (16th February) Sturgeon said, aside from the first phase of schools reopening on Monday, there will no change to the current lockdown restrictions. “The core ‘stay at home’ requirement will stay in place until at least the beginning of March and possibly for a further period beyond that,” she said.

The first minister said the Scottish Government is currently preparing a revised Strategic Framework, which it expects to publish next Tuesday. The document will outline a “gradual, phased return to as much normality as possible”, but Sturgeon warned that “probably for a while yet, 100% normality is unlikely to be possible”.

“Because of the new, more infectious variant, our exit from lockdown is likely to be even more cautious than it was last summer,” she said.

“[The framework] will set out as far as possible the conditions that we think need to be met, in terms of the data, for us to start lifting restrictions. And it will detail the broad order of priority for reopening, including what a return to a geographic levels approach might look like in due course.

“Again though, I would emphasise that if we want to keep moving in the right direction – and avoid setbacks – caution will be necessary. That is why the framework will also try to be clear about what we don’t think will be possible for a while longer.

“So, to give just one example of that, we are likely to advise against booking Easter holidays, either overseas or within Scotland, as it is highly unlikely that we will have been able to fully open hotels or self-catering accommodation by then.

“However, for the summer, while it is still highly unlikely that overseas holidays will be possible or advisable, staycations might be – but this will depend on the data nearer the time.”