However, some protective measures will stay in place, including masks and face coverings indoors and on public transport, by law (with exemptions in place), and the collection of contact details as part of Test and Protect. People are also advised to continue to clean their hands and surfaces regularly.
The legal requirement for physical distancing and limits on gatherings will be removed the same day, when all venues across Scotland are able to reopen. Additionally, adults identified as close contacts of someone testing positive for COVID-19 will no longer be automatically required to self-isolate for 10 days; anyone who is double-vaccinated with at least 2 weeks passed since their second dose, and who has no symptoms will be able to end self-isolation if they return a negative PCR test.
Other baseline measures will remain in place:
- Scottish Government will continue to use travel restrictions, as and when necessary, to restrict the spread of outbreaks and protect against the risk of importation of new variants
- people should continue home working where possible
- Scottish Government recognise that some staff will start to return to offices, in line with staff wellbeing discussions and business need. They will encourage employers to consider a hybrid model of home and office working (or “blended working”) for the longer term
- for a limited period, a gateway process will be kept in place, through which organisers of outdoors events of more than 5000 and indoor events of more than 2000 will have to apply for permission
- this will allow Scottish Government and local authorities to be assured of the arrangements in place to reduce risk
- Scottish Government will continue to issue appropriate guidance to assist individuals and businesses to reduce the risk of transmission as much as possible
Children and Young People
This update on isolation also applies to anyone aged 5 – 17 years old, even if they have not been vaccinated. Children under the age of 5 years old are not required to take a PCR test.
Test and Protect will also implement revised guidance for those under 18. This means that the blanket isolation of whole classes in schools will no longer happen and a targeted approach, that only identifies children and young people who are higher risk close contacts, will be adopted. Fewer young people will have to self-isolate, and most will be asked to self-isolate for a much shorter period of time. To allow time to monitor the impacts of these changes, the majority of the mitigations which were in place in schools in the previous term will be retained for up to six weeks. In this way, Scottish Government aims to help support a safe and sustainable return to education after the summer break.
Invitations for vaccines are now going out to young people aged 12 – 17 years old with specific health conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19, with first doses expected to be offered to this group by the end of August.
Updated guidance for the education sector will be published shortly.
Further guidance will also be provided to businesses to help them adopt measures to mitigate risks, including ensuring good ventilation, maintaining good hand hygiene, practising respiratory hygiene. getting vaccinated, and continuing to engage with Test and Protect.
Message from the First Minister
The First Minister confirmed the move to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 3rd August; her full statement is available to view on the Scottish Government website (linked for your convenience).
The First Minister said:
“The move beyond level 0 will entail the lifting of most of the remaining legally imposed restrictions – most notably, on physical distancing and limits to the size of social gatherings. It also means that from 9 August, no venues will be legally required to close.
“This change is significant and it is hard-earned. The sacrifices everyone has made over the past year and a half can never be overstated. However, while this move will restore a substantial degree of normality, it is important to be clear that it does not signal the end of the pandemic or a return to life exactly as we knew it before Covid struck.
“Declaring freedom from, or victory over, this virus is in my view premature. The harm the virus can do, including through the impact of long COVID, should not be underestimated. And its ability to mutate may yet pose us real challenges.”
Or for further information on COVID-19 protection levels and restrictions in Scotland, please visit the Scottish Government’s main COVID-19 page.