More lockdown restrictions removed as Scotland enters phase three

Daniel Harkins, PA Scotland
·2-min read

Hospitals are to reopen to visitors, children can play contact sports outdoors and shopping centres will welcome back customers as Scotland starts its first full week of phase three of lockdown.

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed on Thursday that phase three of the four-step route map out of lockdown could go ahead.

She told MSPs in the Scottish Parliament that Covid-19 continued to be suppressed.

A husband and wife hold hands in a hospital
A husband and wife hold hands in a hospital (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

On Friday, restrictions were removed on people meeting up indoors and on physical distancing inside for children under 12.

But face coverings became mandatory in shops.

From today, organised outdoor contact sports for children and young people can resume, non-essential shops within shopping centres can reopen, and non-aerosol routine care dental care will return.

Pregnant women can also have a designated person accompany them to ante and post-natal appointments.

During the pandemic, hospital visits have only been permitted in essential circumstances such as a patient needing a birthing partner.

But from Monday people in hospital who do not have coronavirus will be able to have a designated visitor.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “The continued progress we are making in suppressing the virus has allowed us to safely, and in a series of phases, resume hospital visiting in line with clinical expert advice.

“There is a need to balance the risk of physical and psychological harm that the absence of visitors can cause, with the gradual reduction of Covid-19.

“We have worked with Health Protection Scotland to plan how we safely restore a person-centred approach to visiting in Scotland’s hospitals.”

Shops in Scotland with outdoor entrances and exits were allowed to open from June 29.

They will now be joined by retail units in shopping centres.

Anne Ledgerwood, general manager of St Enoch Centre in Glasgow, said: “Our team has been working hard to prepare the centre for reopening and our number one priority is the safety of our shoppers, retailers and staff.

“We are closely following the guidance from the Scottish Government and are implementing a range of measures to ensure public safety including enhanced cleaning with specialist products, social distancing measure and restrictions on the number of shoppers.

“Individual retailers will also be taking steps to keep shoppers safe and we would urge everyone to play their part and follow these guidelines.”

Patrick Robbertze, centre director at The Centre, Livingston, said: “We are really looking forward to the opening of non-essential stores at The Centre, Livingston and welcoming visitors back for a safe and enjoyable shopping experience.”