Coronavirus: People in Scotland allowed to meet outdoors in groups of 8 from Friday

May 28, 2020

People in Scotland will be allowed to meet outdoors in groups of up to eight from tomorrow.

The gatherings should only involve people from two households on the same day and social distancing must be adhered to, Nicola Sturgeon said during the Scottish government's daily COVID-19 briefing.

Revealing the nation was moving to phase one of its four-step plan to ease out of lockdown, the first minister said members of the public would be able to gather at distance in a garden or park.

The Scottish government strongly recommends people do not meet with more than one other household a day, although this will not be legally enforceable.

The first minister said changes could now be made because a downward trend in the spread of coronavirus was "sustained and unmistakable".

Ms Sturgeon added that people would also now be allowed to sit and sunbathe in local parks.

While no legal limit will be placed on how far people will be allowed to travel for recreation, she said the "strong advice" was to stay within five miles.

She added: "We simply don't want, in this phase, large numbers of people at tourist hotspots or beauty spots.

"Crowds of people, even if they're trying to social distance, bring more risk than we judge is acceptable at this point."

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Teachers will also be able to go into schools from Monday for preparation ahead of the planned opening on 11 August.

Ms Sturgeon said the transmission rate of the virus, known as the R number, remained between 0.7 and 1 - but that she could not be sure how long it would remain so.

She said there were 19,000 infectious cases of the virus as of last week.

And she admitted she felt "a bit nervous" because she was concerned the changes could lead to "much greater change in reality".

The first minister appealed for Scots to "respect the parameters we are setting out", adding people should "ensure things still feel different from normal".

She said the changes were "important first steps back to some kind of normality" but warned that no changes were "risk-free".

  • Next week from Monday to Thursday, Dermot Murnaghan will be hosting After the Pandemic: Our New World -- a series of special live programmes about what our world will be like once the pandemic is over.

    We'll be joined by some of the biggest names from the worlds of culture, politics, economics, science and technology. And you can take part too. If you'd like to be in our virtual audience - from your own home - and put questions to the experts, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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