Coronavirus: Scotland to keep two-metre rule and make face coverings in shops mandatory

July 02, 2020

The two-metre rule is going to remain in place in Scotland - and wearing face coverings in shops will become mandatory on 10 July.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement during a statement on the next steps of the country's coronavirus response.

She told reporters on Thursday that the science "on physical distancing has not changed" - but added that as fewer people become infected, the chances of coming into contact with someone carrying the infection is lower.

Some sectors, such as hospitality and retail, will be exempt from the two-metre rule on the guarantee that extra measures will be put in place instead, in an effort to re-start the country's economy.

Alongside the two-metre rule, the first minister also said that face masks will be mandatory in shops from 10 July - the date on which the country is expected to move its next lockdown phase.

Children under five and those with certain medical conditions will be exempt from wearing masks.

Some outdoor hospitality businesses will be allowed to reopen from Monday, as can self-contained accommodation, while the guidance telling people to remain within five miles of their home will also be relaxed from next week.

Ms Sturgeon said she hoped that she would be able to make further announcements next week on whether separate households can "meet, interact and play".

However, she also encouraged the public to remain responsible while they travelled throughout the country, and to continue to follow public health advice.

The first minister also added that a small outbreak of COVID-19 had been identified in Gretna, and that contact tracing and testing was taking place in the area.

Those living in Annan, Gretna, Dumfries, Lockerbie, Langholm, and Canonbie have been told to keep following travel restrictions while the testing and tracing takes place.

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Elsewhere, Wales is also continuing to further lift its coronavirus restrictions, with the reopening of outdoor businesses such as pub gardens - but indoor hospitality will remain closed.

Self-contained accommodation can reopen two days earlier than first announced on 11 July, a Welsh government spokesperson said.

And the Welsh international relations minister Eluned Morgan added that some outdoor attractions may be able to reopen their doors from 13 July.

The upcoming changes in Scotland and Wales will bring both nations more in line with England, with Boris Johnson having been quicker to loosen restrictions.

Pubs, bars and restaurants in England will be able to welcome customers for the first time in more than three months from this Saturday, although the prime minister has urged people not to "overdo it".

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