Today, 18th May, Nicola Sturgeon outlined possible first steps in easing the lockdown.
In her statement she said: “I can confirm today that we will publish on Thursday a routemap setting out our phased approach to easing lockdown measures. This will take account of the up to date estimates of the transmission rate, or R number, and the number of cases. It will also take account of the latest National Records of Scotland report, due on Wednesday, on the number of deaths from COVID.
The routemap we publish on Thursday will give a more detailed indication of the order in which we will carefully and gradually seek to lift current restrictions Now like other countries we will not yet be able to put from dates on all of the different phases – because timings must be driven by data and evidence.
It will also be important that we assess the impact of measures in one phase before moving on to another. We will continue, and again I want to stress this, to take a cautious approach that ensures the virus is suppressed, while seeking to restore as much normality as possible when it is safe to do so.
However, Thursday’s routemap will confirm that – assuming we see progress in suppressing the virus – the first phase will start from the next formal review date of 28 May.
Within a few days of that, we will aim to allow, for example, more outdoor activity – such as being able to sit in the park, meet up outdoors with someone from another household, as long as you stay socially distanced; some limited outdoor sporting activities, like golf and fishing; the opening of garden centres and recycling facilities; and the resumption of some outdoor work.
This first phase will coincide with our ability to start, on a phased basis, a substantial test, trace and isolate operation to help us keep the virus under control as we start to ease up restrictions. That part is absolutely crucial.
Thursday’s routemap will also set out our up to date assessment at that point of a phased of a return to school, as guided by the considerations of the Education Recovery Group. From Thursday onwards, we will also set out guidance for key industries on the changes they will need to make to ensure their employees and customers are safe in advance of further changes, as well as setting out advice on travel and transport.
So, within two weeks’, my hope is that we will be taking some concrete steps on the journey back to a form of normality. As I have said before, It won’t be normality exactly as we knew it because the virus will not have gone away. But it will be a journey to a better balance, I hope, than the one we have today.
As we take each step, we must make sure the ground beneath us is as solid as possible. And that’s why, between now and then, sticking with the lockdown restrictions a bit longer, to suppress the virus more, is so important.
Because that will mean we can start to take these steps with confidence that we have alternative means of effectively keeping it under control.
So for that reason, our key advice now remains unchanged, and it remains as important as ever. Please stay at home right now except for essential purposes – such as essential work that can’t be done at home, exercise, or accessing essential items like food and medicine.
You can of course now exercise more than once a day – but when you do leave the house, stay more than 2 metres away from other people. And don’t meet up with people from households other than yours at this stage. You should wear a face covering if you are in a shop or on public transport. And please wash your hands thoroughly and regularly.
Finally, if you or someone else in your household has symptoms, then you should stay at home completely, and a reminder – those symptoms are a high temperature, or a persistent cough, or a change or loss of smell or taste.”