Planned easing of coronavirus restrictions in Scotland is to go ahead despite cases “plateauing” rather than continuing to decline, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
The First Minister was speaking during a Scottish Government, Covid-19 briefing, which are no longer given on a daily basis since the Scottish Parliament election campaign began last week.
Ms Sturgeon said the “Stay at Home” order would be removed from Friday and replaced with a “Stay Local” rule.
On Monday, hairdressers and barbers can reopen for pre-booked appointments, click and collect shopping will be permitted, and homeware shops and garden centres can welcome back customers.
University and college students can also return for in-person teaching and outdoor contact sports for 12-17-year olds may resume.
The First Minister said she will give further updates in April but that Scotland is on course to ease restrictions further, with cafes, restaurants, shops and gyms due to open from April 26 and more people allowed to meet up outdoors.
The latest coronavirus figures show 12 deaths and 411 positive tests were recorded in the past 24 hours.
It brings the death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 7,596.
Ms Sturgeon said: “There are still no grounds for complacency.
“In fact, it is really important right now that while the vaccination programme continues to be rolled out, that all of us remain hyper-vigilant in how we’re going about our daily lives.
“The data suggests that the number of new cases having fallen throughout January and February are now plateauing rather than continuing to decline significantly.”
The First Minister said the new Stay at Home rule would be in place for at least three weeks.
“That means the current travel restrictions, which prevent non-essential travel outside your own local authority area, will remain in place for another three weeks,” she said.
“I fully understand how frustrating that is for everybody – I share that frustration – like many of you, my family live in a different local authority to the one I live in, and so like anyone with loved ones in a different part of the country, I desperately want to see them in person.”