PEOPLE will be permitted to see friends and family from other households outdoors if plans to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions go ahead next week.

Details of a four-phase “route map”, aimed at a cautious and measured lifting of lockdown measures while making sure coronavirus remains suppressed, have been published today by the Scottish Government.

Details and timings in the plan are subject to change and depend on evidence supporting any move away from the current restrictions.

The default message remains the same, however: stay at home as much as possible.

The first phase of the plan will start with a review of the current regulations and situation next Thursday, May 28.

Meeting people

  • If all goes well people will be allowed to meet with friends and family from one other household.
  • This will be permitted outdoors only, with social distancing still required and does not mean large gatherings will be allowed, only outdoor meetings between two households.


  • There will be more opportunities to exercise outdoors, while adhering to social distancing.
  • People will be allowed to undertake non-contact outdoor activities in the local area, such as golf, hiking and fishing.

Waste and recycling

  • Proposals are to re-open waste and recycling centres – such as Forthbank in Alloa and as previously reported, there are plans for an electronic booking system in the Wee County to avoid congestion.


  • There are no plans to lift current restrictions on funerals in the first phase of the plan.
  • Current indications are that these restrictions will only be relaxed further down the line, during phase three.

Health and social care services

  • People at risk will have more contact with social work and other support services.
  • NHS services which have been cancelled due to coronavirus will resume carefully and slowly.
  • This includes plans to retain Covid-free GP services and to scale up digital consultations.
  • There will be a resumption of IVF treatments as soon as it is safe to do so along with an increased provision of emergency eye care.
  • The government says that it will “consider the introduction of designated visitors to care homes” as well.

Businesses, pubs and restaruants

  • A gradual re-opening of drive-through and takeaway outlets is also planned in phase one.
  • Pubs, cafés and non-essential shops should not re-open, except for takeaway during the first phase.
  • The re-opening of pubs and restaurants could come during phase two, but for outdoor spaces only and with social distancing and increased hygiene routines.
  • These businesses will be able to open indoors during phase three.
  • Garden centres and plant nurseries will also be allowed to re-open during phase one.


  • In education, school staff will be permitted to return to work in June to prepare for the next term.
  • Plans for further down the line indicate that children may return to school on August 11, subject to change and evidence supporting the move.
  • However, pupils are likely to only attend at schools part-time while also studying from home for part of the week in a “blended” approach.
  • Critical childcare provision will be available for an increased number of young people, including the re-opening of childminding services and fully outdoor nursery provision.
  • Physical distancing measures will be implemented in schools and there will be a focus on increased hand washing as well as staggered arrivals and departures.
  • Expanding the school estate and the education workforce are also important parts of the plans along with transport arrangements.
  • There are also plans to provide support for pupils transitioning from nursery to primary or into secondary school.

On the subject of schools, local MSP Keith Brown has today asked First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at Holyrood for commitments that schools will only re-open if it is safe to do so.

He also highlighted that this will have to be done in accordance with local circumstances, saying councils will be taking a lead role.

Mr Brown also sought assurances that all stakeholders, including teachers unions and parents will be included in the process.

Responding, the first minister said: “I can give all of those assurances.”

And added: “Keith Brown is right to talk about the lead role of local authorities here, particularly when talking about the physical infrastructure in schools that will have to be adapted in order to accommodate the kind of model that will be necessary.

“I will absolutely give an assurance that we will only open schools when we think it is safe to do so.”

She highlighted it will be important to persuade pupils and parents that a return to school will be safe.


  • Working from home will remain the default position where possible during the first phase, however, outdoor work in agriculture and forestry can resume.
  • The document published today added: “For those workplaces that are reopening, employers should encourage staggered start times and flexible working.

“We are also planning for outdoor workplaces to resume with physical distancing measures in place once guidance is agreed.”

And added: “Workplaces resuming in the following phases can undertake preparatory work on physical distancing and hygiene measures in this phase.”

  • The construction industry will also start implementing the first phases of its restart plan, after consulting with government.

Plans are not set in stone

  • Crucial to the plans will be an NHS test, trace and isolate strategy.
  • People who show symptoms of Covid-19 will be asked to self-isolate and their close contacts will also be traced and asked to self-isolate as well.
  • There will be a review, around every three weeks, before the government decides to move onto the next phases of lifting restrictions.
  • The removal of restrictions as part of phase one may not necessarily be introduced on May 28, but the days following.
  • Depending on the evidence, it may be that some are postponed, while others in later phases may be brought forward.
  • The Scottish Government will set out exactly what phase one measures will be introduced once the evidence is reviewed next Thursday, May 28.
  • Until then, the current restrictions do remain in place.