MOST of Scotland will move into level 2 lockdown restrictions from next week, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The First Minister said from Monday next week restrictions will be lifted across the country.

But the changes will not apply to Moray where the Covid rate is four times higher than the rest of the country. 

“It’s against that backdrop that, unless the situation was to materially improve over the next few days, it would simply not be safe or sensible to ease restrictions there from Monday,” she said.

As well as Moray remaining in Level 3, the First Minister said the region would see travel restrictions reimposed to ensure cases do not rise in other areas of the country.

“This will mean that travel in and out of Moray will be limited to permitted purposes only,” she added.

The changes for most of Scotland include, but are not limited to, being able to meet inside a home, drinking alcohol inside a pub or restaurant, the reintroduction of adult contact sports and meeting eight people from eight households outdoors.

The National:

Up to six people from three households can meet indoors. Under 12s do not count towards the total number of people or households meeting outside but do count towards household numbers indoors.

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It is no longer necessary to maintain physical distance. The requirements on physical distancing still apply away from homes and private gardens.

Moray businesses will be given financial assistance from the Scottish Government as they stay closed.

The FM explained that Moray has been experiencing a high and increasing number of cases.

There has been a small associated increase in hospital admissions and Moray is experiencing widespread community transmission of the virus.

It is highly probable that Moray will remain at level 3, although a decision will be taken at the end of the week.

The happier position for the island communities means restrictions will be eased more quickly there than on the mainland.

The island communities will move to level 1 on Monday.

Scots can now travel anywhere across Scotland and the UK.

However, as lockdown levels change, people in Level 3 must not enter Levels 0-2 or Level 4 area unless for a permitted reason.

Staycations will be allowed with travel restrictions lifted and tourist accommodation will reopen.

However, socialising rules must still apply.

Restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars can open indoors until 10.30pm with two-hour pre-booked slots.

They can open outdoors within local licensing conditions for the consumption of food and alcoholic drinks.

The maximum number of people you can meet indoors in a restaurant, cafe, pub or bar is six which can be from up to three separate households. 

The maximum number of people you can meet outdoors in a restaurant, café, pub or bar is eight which can be from up to eight separate households.

Outdoor and indoor events like concerts and sports games can also go ahead with limits of 100 people indoors, 250 outdoors standing and 500 with seating.

The change in restrictions coincides with the news that the Covid-19 alert level in the UK has been downgraded after a "consistent" fall in cases, hospital admissions and deaths.

The four chief medical officers of the UK have said the threat level should be lowered from level 4 to level 3, thanks to the success of the vaccination programme and social distancing restrictions.

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People in Scotland will also be able to travel to some foreign destinations without the need to quarantine on their return. 

It will be part of a traffic lights system, similar to that in England, and will come into effect on May 24. 

Countries are to be classified as green, amber and red and a review will take place every four weeks. 

Scotland will move to a traffic light system for international travel, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

“We consider that the situation now allows us to believe a careful move away from blanket restrictions on non-essential travel overseas,” the First Minister said at the coronavirus briefing on Tuesday.

From Monday, managed isolation will still be needed for countries on the “red list” while a 10-day period of self-isolation with two PCR tests will be needed for amber list countries and those arriving from green list countries will be required to take a test when they arrived, but will not need to self-isolate if they do not have the virus.

While green list status should be the “exception not the rule”, 12 countries and territories will be on the list from the start of the initiative, including Iceland, the Faroe Islands, New Zealand and Australia.

“This decision means that, as of now, we have a consistent four nations position on international travel – I think that’s positive,” she said.

“It has been made possible because the decisions the UK Government has arrived at are appropriately cautious – I hope this continues to be the case but I need to stress that the Scottish Government will continue to take the decision we consider to be right for Scotland.

“We will not sign up to decisions that will put our progress at risk.”

Sturgeon said she was unable to give a rundown of the latest daily statistics because of a "significant" IT issue affecting Public Health Scotland.

In general, she says, case numbers are continuing to fall across the country – with the exception of Moray.

"Over the past three weeks, the huge success of the vaccination programme, coupled with continued high compliance on the part of the general population has combined to ensure a continued suppression," she added.