// Non-essential shops will be able to reopen on Friday in the 11 council areas Scotland currently in lockdown
// Pubs, cafes and restaurants in these areas will be allowed to reopen on Saturday
// Northern Ireland is also set to end its national lockdown on Friday
Non-essential shops will be able to reopen in many areas of Scotland from Friday and Saturday as lockdown restrictions are eased.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed to MSPs in the Scottish Parliament today that no area of Scotland would remain in Level 4, or lockdown, when changes come into force later this week.
The toughest tier of restrictions was imposed on 11 Scottish council areas – including Glasgow, Lanarkshire and Stirling – on November 20.
- Non-essential retail to enter lockdown in 11 local councils across Scotland
- #Shopper footfall down despite images of post-lockdown crowds
- Green light for Northern Ireland non-essential retailers to reopen December 11
They will now all move down to Level 3.
Non-essential shops in these areas will be able to reopen from 6am on Friday.
The rest of the changes, such as cafes, pubs and restaurants being able to reopen, will come into affect from 6pm that day.
However, hospitality businesses in Level 3 areas must close their doors by 6pm, so this means they will have to wait until Saturday to welcome back customers for food and non-alcoholic drinks.
Sturgeon said that while the prevalence of the virus has “fallen significantly” in all 11 areas in west and central Scotland in Level 4, she warned against complacency.
“In reaching decisions today, we have had to consider the potential overall impact of moving to a lower level of restrictions at the same time as the Christmas period begins in earnest,” she said.
“That has led us to a proportionate but still cautious set of conclusions.”
Five other council areas in Scotland will have restrictions eased later this week, the First Minister said.
Inverclyde, Falkirk and Angus will move from Level 3 to Level 2, while Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders will move to Level 1.
All other council areas will remain in their current levels.
The First Minister told MSPs moving Edinburgh to Level 2 was considered but the proximity to Christmas quashed that decision. This position will be reassessed next week.
Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire will also remain in Level 2, with cases having fallen in the past week.
Current travel restrictions across Scotland will remain in place, with the First Minster saying these “continue to be a vital part of keeping the country safe with a targeted and proportionate approach to restrictions”.
The First Minister also said further business support in Scotland will be announced on Wednesday.
Scotland is the not the only country lifting lockdown restrictions on Friday.
Retailers and other businesses in Northern Ireland were recently given the green light to reopen on the same day, after it went into a national lockdown on November 27 – a week after the 11 council areas in Scotland did.
Meanwhile, England exited its four-week national lockdown mid last week, a month or so after Wales ended its own 17-day “firebreak” lockdown.
with PA Wires