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Coronavirus in Scotland: Your questions answered on lockdown easing


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Coronavirus in Scotland: Your questions answered on lockdown easing

Image copyright Getty Images With Scotland introducing the first phase of its lockdown easing strategy on Friday, more than 1,300 of you have sent in questions about how the new rules will work.Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. Does meeting one other household mean the same household every time…

Coronavirus in Scotland: Your questions answered on lockdown easing

Sunbathing in parkImage copyright
Getty Images

With Scotland introducing the first phase of its lockdown easing strategy on Friday, more than 1,300 of you have sent in questions about how the new rules will work.

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Does meeting one other household mean the same household every time – or one household every individual meeting? Chris Waugh, Musselburgh

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Getty Images

In phase one, the guidance says you are allowed to meet members of one other household at a time – so you can meet different people on different days.

While this will not be the law, the Scottish government strongly recommends you don’t meet with more than one other household per day.

You should keep meetings to a maximum of eight people, and members of different households should stay two metres apart at all times – so no hugs.

It needs to be outdoors and people should not go into someone else’s house – although you are allowed to meet in private gardens as well as public spaces like parks.

You should avoid touching the same surfaces – these could act as a “bridge” for the virus to transmit between households. For example, if you are having a picnic each household should bring its own food and crockery.

Can someone from another household enter your house solely to get into the back garden if you have no other access otherwise? Avril Matthews, Edinburgh

Yes, this is the only exception to the rule that you should not enter someone else’s house.

It would be permitted according to the guidance. It says: “If you must go through a house to access a garden, do that quickly and without touching surfaces”.

So my daughter and grandchildren can visit me as long as we stay in the garden, but what happens if they want to use the toilet? Alistair Gilchrist, Perthshire

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While it’s OK for one other household to meet you outside – for example in your garden – per day, they should not come into your house, and they should “avoid using shared facilities such as bathrooms“.

This is because the risk of spreading the virus is higher inside, and it could be transmitted by or to you when you touch surfaces.

What about visits to family outwith five miles? John Drysdale, Edinburgh

There is no legal limit on how far you can travel to meet another household, but you are encouraged to stay local – the Scottish government suggests that about five miles from your home is what it would consider local.

It’s down to you if you choose to travel further. The reason you are asked to stay close to home is because the further you travel the more likely that you’ll need to go to the bathroom. The guidance warns against this, as you “risk leaving the virus” behind in the house.

When two households meet up outside, are young children expected to socially distance? Emma, Stonehaven

Yes, when you meet up with another household then young children need stay two metres away from people from the other household at all times.

They could pick up the virus from or spread it to the other household, just like an adult could.

Similarly you should not allow children to share toys with those outside their household as surfaces can act as a bridge to transmit the virus between the two households.

I am a member of a golf course around 15 miles from my home. Am I allowed to travel to play? Scott Henderson, Falkirk

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PA Media

You can now travel short distances for non-contact outdoor leisure activities including golf, tennis, bowls and fishing.

However, you should remain in your local area. The Scottish government suggest that within five miles of your home would be what they consider local.

You wouldn’t be breaking the law if you travelled further, it’s really a question of judgement.

When can we spend the night with partners we don’t live with? Elaine Baillie, Dunbar

The first minister acknowledged that this was a “particularly difficult” issue, and said her government are “specifically” looking at providing an answer.

She cannot provide a date at the moment, but hopes to be able to address the situation in the “not too distant future”. For now, she implores people to live as “sensibly and safely as possible”.

Ms Sturgeon added: “The Scottish government wants to see if guidance can be modified soon but for now the safest advice for people in different households, whatever the relationship is, is to follow physical distancing to avoid the virus easily spreading between different households.”

Looking at the route map gives some indication of how much interaction will be allowed in each phase.

In stage two, you will be allowed into someone else’s house, but the guidance says you should still stay two metres apart.

It is not until phase four that the guidelines don’t recommend physical distancing from those you don’t live in the same house as.

When will it be safe for grandparents to start providing childcare again for their grandchildren? Laura Wild, Bishopton

In phase one, you should continue to work from home wherever possible and it is not recommended that grandparents look after their grandchildren.

Grandparents tend to be older and are therefore particularly vulnerable to becoming seriously ill with coronavirus.

From next Wednesday, child minding services and outdoor nurseries will be able to reopen.

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Can I now move into my new home as we have been stuck in the middle of the process since lockdown started? James Wilson, Aberdeen

Not in phase one. During this phase, the Scottish government’s guidelines say only “preparation” will take place for the “safe reopening of the housing market”.

They acknowledge it’s “difficult and frustrating” for anyone stuck mid-process, but say it won’t be until phase two that it is anticipated there will be a relaxation of restrictions on moving.

When will our places of worship be opened and what restrictions if any will be put in place as people prepare to go back to church? Alan Bellshaw, Tranent

Places of worship will not be reopening in phase one. It’s not until phase two that places of worship will be allowed to open, and even then it will only be for private prayer with physical distancing.

In phase three, places of worship can open to extended groups but you will still need to stay two metres apart from other worshippers.

How long we will spend in each phase is not clear – there are a lot of moving parts that can impact how quickly we can move from one phase to another.

So although the restrictions will be reviewed every three weeks a single phase may span more than one review period – some could be lifted earlier than planned but some could be lifted later.

What can happen in each place of worship during each phase will depend on a number of factors – including the size and layout, the size of the congregation and what rituals each faith wants to carry out.

How likely is it that weddings with circa 100 people will be able to go ahead in October? Kim Floyd, Cruden Bay

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It’s very difficult to say at this stage what will be safe in October. A lot will depend on the individual characteristics of ceremony and reception venues and how many people they can safely accommodate.

No marriage ceremonies will be allowed to take place in phase one.

But in phase two, ceremonies will be allowed to take place again but the number of attendees will be limited.

It’s not until phase three that restrictions will be relaxed to beyond close family.

How long we will spend in each phase is not clear – there are a lot of moving parts that can impact how quickly we can move from one phase to another.

So although the restrictions will be reviewed every three weeks a single phase may span more than one review period – some could be lifted earlier than planned but some could be lifted later.

Use the form below to send us your questions and we could be in touch.

In some cases your question will be published, displaying your name, age and location as you provide it, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.

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