NICOLA Sturgeon says she is “very hopeful” that Scotland can enter Phase 3 of the four-part route map out of coronavirus lockdown this week.

The First Minister is set to reveal the easing of more COVID-19 restrictions on Thursday, which would come into force the following day.

Among the changes pencilled-in for the latest round of changes are the reopening of hairdressers, indoor pubs and being able to meet more loved ones indoors.

What did the First Minister say?

During yesterday’s daily coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh, the Ms Sturgeon said: "I am, at this stage, very hopeful we'll be able to go into Phase 3. There's nothing to suggest that will not be the case.

"That does not mean everything that was pencilled-in in the route map originally for phase three will happen in Phase 3.

"And it certainly doesn't mean everything will happen immediately in Phase 3 - we may well take a phased approach, within the phase, as we have done with Phase 2.

"So people should wait until we've concluded that assessment and then announce the outcome of that on Thursday."

What is likely to change and when?

Last month, the First Minister set out some ‘indicative’ dates for the easing of lockdown in Scotland – including a number of dates included in Phase 3. 

This is reliant on a continued suppression of the virus across the country.

Here, we detail out those changes: 

From July 10: 

Meeting indoors: From this date, households can meet indoors with a maximum of two other households – provided they maintain physical distancing.

This will be the first time for many that they have been able to meet anyone indoors since lockdown began – with the exception to that being the ‘extended households’ which were formed last month.

Meeting outdoors: People can meet outdoors in extended groups with physical distancing. 

Two-metre rule: From this date, areas such as hospitality, shopping and public transport can reduce the two-metre rule to one-metres – provided a number of mitigations are put in place. 

For the general public, however, the two-metre rule will remain the benchmark.

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From July 13:

Shopping: Non-essential retail shops inside shopping centres can reopen. 

Outdoor sports: Organised outdoor contact sports can resume for children and young people.

Dentists: All dental practices will begin to see registered patients for non-aerosol routine care.

From July 15:

Indoor hospitality: Pubs and restaurants can reopen indoors subject to physical distancing and hygiene rules.

Hairdressers: Hairdressers and barbers can finally reopen from this date.

Other indoor leisure: Cinemas, museums, galleries and libraries can open from this date – but with precautionary measures in place – including buying tickets online in advance. 

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What if I am shielding?

The above changes do not apply to people who have been advised to shield – their advice remains to do so until July 31.

However, the First Minister did recently announce that outdoor exercise and meeting people from another household (in groups up to 8 people) is allowed provided strict physical distancing is followed.

Ms Sturgeon said they will “continue to review” the evidence leading up to July 31 and will refine the advice once recommended by clinicians. 

What else might change?

The First Minister also outlined a number of potential changes in Phase 3 – but added they are “unlikely to be in place before July 23”.

This includes the easing of restrictions on attendance at funerals, marriages and civil partnerships – provided physical distancing remains in place. 

Places of worship can also reopen for congregational services, with communal prayer allowed. 

Universities and colleges can also open with a phased return with a blended model of remote and on-campus learning.

And non-essential offices and call centres can reopen following the implementation of relevant guidance – with working from home and working flexibly remaining the default.

Live events, indoor gyms, other personal retail services and other indoor entertainment venues such as nightclubs and theatres will be “subject to further public health advice”.