FORGIVE me a short, last-minute prologue, but as I was about to submit this column reports started breaking of an incident in Glasgow city centre. Details are sparse as I’m writing this, but my thoughts are with everyone affected and their families. Stay safe.

This week the First Minister confirmed that we are loosening lockdown restrictions further. From July 3 the five-mile rule will be relaxed and people will be able to take holidays to self-catering accommodation. This is great news, and there’s further loosening of restrictions coming, throughout July including – finally – hairdressers re-opening.

Though it should be stressed that all of these dates are provisional and may not occur if we don’t continue to suppress the virus, it is so nice to have real hope that we will be able to spend time together once again soon, and that we’ll be spending that time safely.

It’s that bit of hope that made scenes on beaches in England so horrifying.

There were hundreds of people packed into a beach in Brighton this week as England eased their lockdown a couple of weeks ahead of us.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon issues virus warning after Bournemouth incident

In normal times, pictures of people enjoying the sun on a beach are a happy thing. It means the weather has been good, and we’ve finally had a bit of our annual sunshine allowance in the dreich lands of Scotland and the UK.

But this time, when I looked at those photos, all I could see was the hope and excitement for lockdown easing dissipating before my eyes. It happened a few weeks ago when people were allowed to meet up outdoors for the first in months – people bent the rules and had a wild one.

If large groups of people do this every time the sun breaks through the clouds, we’re going to very quickly be back where we were just before lockdown, reporting hundreds of new cases and new deaths every day.

Lockdown is hard. Even with the easing it is still hard. The beautiful weather often feels like a kick in the teeth, but that does not give anyone license to toss it all out the window and do as they please.

The virus still exists, it’s still being transmitted, and we can’t pretend it isn’t.

Just look at America. Donald Trump cared more about getting the economy going than the American people’s health, and now they once again have the number of cases they did when they first locked down.

The EU is banning travel from America. That’s because they unlocked too quickly and decided overnight that the virus no longer exists.

As much as we may want to, we can’t will the virus out of existence.

We should all be very clear that if we re-open too soon and the virus gets out of control again, the economic impact of shutting down a second time will be far worse than the impact of easing out slowly.

We have to be imaginative in finding the safe path back to normality.

One of the first steps is discussing these plans in good faith whilst appreciating that, to an extent, the world is building the plane whilst flying it when it comes to policy and this pandemic.

There was a lot of debate around the blended learning (where children attend school two days a week, and learn from home outside those times) approach for children when they return to school in August, with the Tories up in arms that the Scottish Government were being cautious in their approach.

Ironically, this is something the Scottish Tories actually called for in the official policy document they released.

Schools have been asked to prepare for blended learning if that is what the state of virus and community transmission demands.

Nobody expects blended learning to stay in place a minute longer than necessary.

READ MORE: Tories are fuming about the Scottish Government's school announcement

Parents, teachers, children and, indeed, politicians want kids in school getting the education they need and deserve. Given that the virus continues to be suppressed by social distancing, it has become clear that blended learning may not be necessary at all.

Everybody, bar a few selfish folk, has made a huge, concerted effort to suppress this virus so that we can get our lives back to normal as soon as possible.

Throwing it away now would be completely reckless and is totally unnecessary. Stay safe, save lives.