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coronavirus

Face coverings to become mandatory in all shops as part of changes to lockdown

Face coverings will be mandatory in all shops from July 10, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

From Friday, July 10, face coverings will be mandatory in all shops, part of a raft of changes Nicola Sturgeon announced today.

During her daily briefing, the First Minister also announced that, from tomorrow, the five-mile travel restriction will lift and children under the age of 12 will no longer be expected to physically distance from other children while outdoors.

The Scottish Government hope to move into phase three of its route map to easing lockdown restrictions from Thursday, July 9, and part of this will see people wear coverings in all shops, in addition to public transport.

Children under five and those with certain medical conditions are exempt from wearing coverings.

Ms Sturgeon said: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly. It has taken some time to reach this decision.

“But as we all start to interact more, it’s vital that we take all reasonable steps to reduce risk and we know that face coverings can help reduce the risk of transmission indoors.

“Also in shops, as on public transport, contact tracing is more difficult because we usually don’t know the people that we have been contact with. So a face covering provides an additional layer of protection. It is therefore for all of these reasons, that face coverings in shops will be compulsory from the end of next week.

“But please do not wait until then — get into the habit now. This is an important way for all of us to help protect each other and to display that sense of solidarity that has helped the country so well over these past months.”

From Friday, July 3, Children who are 11 years old or under will now be able to play normally with friends outdoors.

Distancing should still be adhered to by children while indoors and there is no change to the guidelines for adults.

Other rules will remain the same — you should continue to meet in groups of eight or less, and to meet no more than two other households at a time.

For young people aged 12 to 17, the limit on the number of meetings you can have in any one day has been lifted, meaning that different groups of friends can meet at different times of the day.

However, meetings should still take place outdoors and should be no more than eight people — from no more than three households — at any one time.

Ms Sturgeon also announced that the two-metre distancing requirement will be relaxed for some key sectors — with the appropriate mitigations in place.

The government will work with those in the hospitality, retail and public transport sectors initially to agree the mitigations that will be required, which will allow sectors to operate a one-metre distance ruling.

It is hoped that these exemptions for specific sectors could be agreed and in place by the time phase three comes round, potentially from Thursday, July 9.

Mitigations could be improved ventilation, perspex screens, regulation of customer flow and seating plans that reduce transmission risk.

However, Ms Sturgeon recognised that the guidance will be change between sectors.

The First Minister said: “In my view, this represents a balanced and proportionate approach to what is a genuinely difficult issue. It allows businesses to cater for more customers — and we know that for some that will be the difference between staying in business or closing.

“However, it also continues to minimise risk — which, for some individuals, and with no exaggeration, could be the difference between life and death.

“Obviously, if infection levels were to rise again, we reserve the right to re-impose a strict two-metre rule, either nationally or locally, and to take other public health measures that are necessary to keep us safe.

“Conversely, though, if we continue to make progress, we may be able to consider a more general relaxation in later phases.”

Outdoor hospitality, such as pavement cafes and beer gardens, can re-open from Monday, Ms Sturgeon confirmed, and although tourism will not open fully until July 15, self-contained holiday accommodation — for example holiday cottages, lodges or caravans with no shared facilities — can reopen from tomorrow.

An additional five positive cases were confirmed yesterday, taking the total now to 18,264 in Scotland.

One COVID-19 death was registered in Scotland in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of deaths, of people who have tested positive for COVID-19, to 2,487.

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