Nicola Sturgeon announces lifting of restrictions brought in to tackle the Omicron variant of Covid-19 before Christmas
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The First Minister has confirmed that the restrictions introduced before Christmas will be removed from Monday after Scotland “turned the corner on the Omicron wave”.
It comes amid calls from the Scottish Conservatives for the progressive removal of all restrictions in February, with the exception of face masks in public places.
Speaking in Holyrood on Tuesday, Nicola Sturgeon credited the effect of the booster vaccinations and the efforts by the public for having “blunted” Omicron.
A number of restrictions will remain in place but from Monday:
- limits on attendance at indoor public events
- one metre physical distancing between different groups in indoor public places
- the requirement for table service in hospitality premises serving alcohol
- the closure of nightclubs.
Face coverings remain mandatory while the Covid certification scheme will remain in place but will not be extended.
“Although significant pressures and uncertainties remain, the data gives us confidence that we have turned the corner on the Omicron wave," she said.
“A combination of booster vaccinations, the willingness of the public to adapt their behaviour to help stem transmission, and the temporary protective measures introduced in December, has helped blunt the impact of the Omicron wave.
“The remaining statutory measures introduced in response to Omicron are as follows: limits on attendance at indoor public events; the requirement for one metre physical distancing between different groups in indoor public places; the requirement for table service in hospitality premises serving alcohol on the premises, and the closure of nightclubs.
“Given the improving situation, I can confirm today that all of these measures will be lifted from next Monday, January 24.
"We will also from Monday remove the guidance advising adults against non-professional indoor contact sports, so that these can resume as normal.
"And from Monday, we will also lift the guidance asking people to stick to a three household limit on indoor gatherings.
"Face coverings must still be worn in public indoor settings and on public transport.
"Businesses and other organisations should continue to have regard to guidance, and take reasonable steps to minimise the spread of Covid.
"And hospitality premises should continue to collect contact details for customers – which is important for the effective operation of Test & Protect.
"In addition, the Covid certification scheme will continue to apply for now to large indoor and outdoor events, and to late night venues – all settings where transmission risks can be higher.
"Given that cases are now falling quite rapidly, and the current wave is receding, we decided that we will not at this stage extend the Covid certification scheme to other premises."