// Non-essential retailers in Scotland to reopen from April 26, First Minister suggests
// The news comes after England confirmed non-essential retailers there can reopen April 12
Non-essential retailers in Scotland will be allowed to reopen from April 26 after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon outlined details how the Covid-19 lockdown could be eased.
While the First Minister said she expected the stay-at-home order would have to remain in place until April 5, she indicated that from March 15 the next phase of children returning to the classroom can take place, along with allowing up to four people or two households to meet outdoors.
Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament that “if all goes according to plan”, the country will move back to the levels system of Covid-19 restrictions from April 26, with all council areas moving to Level 3.
- Government confirms: Non-essential retailers in England can reopen April 12
- Wales lockdown to remain for at least another 3 weeks
- Northern Ireland lockdown extended to April
This will allow a “phased but significant reopening of the economy, including non-essential retail, hospitality and services like gyms and hairdressers”, the First Minister said.
However, the expansion of the definition of essential retailers could be expanded from as early as April 5 to allow some parts of the retail to reopen earlier.
The Scottish First Minister insisted she did not want to give “arbitrary” dates on when life could return to something more like normal.
Scottish Conservative Holyrood leader Ruth Davidson isaid the First Minister’s lockdown exit roadmap was nothing more than a “holding document for the next eight weeks”, adding that people had a “right to be disappointed”.
Sturgeon said there was only “quite limited scope at this stage for easing restrictions” – saying that while the current situation was “extremely positive and promising” it was also “still quite precarious”.
By mid-March, Sturgeon said she hoped to set out “more detail of the further reopening that will take place over April and May” ahead of a “summer when we hope, really hope, to be living with much greater freedoms than we are today”.
England is the only other of the four UK nations to have announced a lockdown exit roadmap plan.
On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that non-essential retailers in England can exit lockdown and reopen from April 12 at the earliest, as part of a four-step plan that aims to have all restrictions lifted by June 21.
It is not yet known when non-essential retailers will be able to exit lockdown in Northern Ireland or Wales.
Northern Ireland announced last week that it it would extend its own lockdown until April 1, although non-essential retailers can resume click-and-collect services from March 8.
The country’s Stormont Executive also said it would publish a road map out of lockdown on March 1.
Wales’ lockdown rules were also extended last week, and will remain in place for at least another three weeks.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed that there would be no further significant changes to the country’s lockdown as stay-at-home rules were extended.
The current lockdowns are the third of its kind on a national scale since the start of the pandemic almost a year ago.
with PA Wires