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coronavirus

What is contained in Phase 1 of lockdown easing?

Nicola Sturgeon outlined the first steps the Scottish Government will take to ease lockdown restrictions.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, today, unveiled a four-phase “route map” to exit the restrictions designed to suppress the coronavirus.

It is anticipated that should progress continue to be made in the battle against this virus, and people continue to adhere by the lockdown restrictions in place until Thursday, May 28, then, within days, we will then see the first phase take effect.

The situation will be reviewed every three weeks, with further phases of easing being introduced if enough progress is being made on keeping the virus under control.

However, Ms Sturgeon said she hoped to be able to move more quickly than that if the evidence allows.

So what can we expect in Phase 1?

R Number

  • In Phase 1, the virus would not be fully contained. There is a continued risk of overwhelming NHS capacity without significant restrictions remaining in place.
  • To progress to Phase 1, R must have been below one for at least two weeks and the number of infectious cases starting to decline. However there would have been sustained reductions in new infections, hospital admissions, ICU admissions, deaths (WHO Criterion 1). Test and Protect capacity will be ramped up, with staff being recruited and digital systems being designed.
  • During Phase 1 a number of changes to the rules would be made — potentially over more than one review cycle (after 28 May, the next review cycle concludes on 18 June). In addition, a number of public services that had either been paused or scaled back because of the crisis would now be resumed or expanded.

Seeing family and friends

  • People are permitted to use public outdoor spaces for recreational purposes, for example to sit in a public space.
  • One household to meet up with another household outdoors, in small numbers, including in gardens, but with physical distancing required.
  • No public gatherings except for meetings of two households and only outdoors and with physical distancing.

Getting around

  • Consistent with the reopening of workplaces set out in this phase, where home working is not possible, businesses and organisations are encouraged to manage travel demand through staggered start times and flexible working patterns.
  • You will also be permitted to travel short distances for outdoor leisure and exercise but advice to stay within a short distance of your local community and travel by walk, wheel and cycle where possible.
  • International border health measures are set to be introduced.

Schools, childcare and other educational settings

  • School staff return to schools in June.
  • Increased number of children accessing critical childcare provision.
  • Re-opening of child minding services and fully outdoor nursery provision.
  • Transition support available to pupils starting P1 and S1 where possible.
  • From August 11, all schools will reopen.
  • Pupils will return to a “blended model” of part-time school and part-time home learning.

Working or running a business

  • Remote working to remain the default position for those who can.
  • For those workplaces that are reopening, employers should encourage staggered start times and flexible working.
  • Outdoor workplaces to resume with physical distancing measures in place once guidance is agreed.
  • Construction sector to implement the first two phases in its restart plan with a decision to move to ‘phase 2’ of the construction sector’s plan only after consulting with government to ensure it is safe to do so in line with public health advice.
  • Safe reopening of the housing market being prepared.

Shopping, eating and drinking out

  • Gradual opening of drive through food outlets as well as the re-opening of garden centres and plant nurseries with physical distancing.
  • Associated cafes (e.g. in garden centres) should not reopen at this stage except for take away.

Sport, culture and leisure activities

  • Unrestricted outdoors exercise allowed adhering to distancing measures.
  • Golf, hiking, canoeing, outdoor swimming, angling — consistent with the wider rules and guidance applicable to any activity in this phase — permitted.

Community and public services

  • A gradual resumption of key support services in the community.
  • Expected restart of face-to-face Children’s Hearings.
  • Greater direct contact for social work and support services with at-risk groups and families, and for there to be access to respite/day care to support unpaid carers and for families with a disabled family member. All of these would involve appropriate physical distancing and hygiene measures.
  • Household Waste Recycling Centres to be reopened.
  • Court and tribunal buildings, with limited business and public access to be reopened.

Gatherings and occasions

  • No public gatherings except for meetings of two households and then only outdoors and with physical distancing.

Health and Social Care

  • The safe restart of NHS services, covering primary, and community services including mental health.
  • Retaining COVID-free GP services and planning a further scale up of digital consultations.
  • Expected roll-out of NHS Pharmacy First Scotland service in community pharmacies and increased care offered at emergency dental hubs as practices prepare to open.
  • Where possible, urgent electives previously paused to be restarted.
  • A resumption of IVF treatment, as soon as it is safe to do so, and subject to the approval of Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.
  • Increased provision of emergency eyecare in the community.
  • The introduction of designated visitors to care homes will be considered.
  • The Test and Protect system will be available across the country.

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