Cautious easing of lockdown as more services to open from 5 April
People across Scotland can make non-essential journeys in their local authority area from Friday 2 April when a requirement to Stay Local will replace the Stay at Home rule.
Hairdressers, garden centres, car showrooms and forecourts, homeware stores and non-essential click and collect services will be able to open from Monday 5 April, subject to enhanced safety measures including physical distancing, face coverings and pre-booking where appropriate. More college students will be able to return to on-campus learning and 12-17 year-olds will be able to resume outdoor contact sports from this date.
Restrictions on non-essential travel across local authority boundaries will remain in place. People must stay within their council area for non-essential shopping and should only travel to another area for essential shopping if there are no practical alternatives. People should also continue to work from home where they can to prevent unnecessary contact that could risk transmission of the virus.
The latest easing of restrictions comes as data shows continued suppression of Coronavirus (COVID-19), and progress on vaccination. Virtually all over 65 year olds have now received a first dose of the vaccine, and the average daily case rate is now 539 new cases per day, a decline of more than 75% since early January.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“We have made progress both in suppressing the virus and in vaccination, and therefore the changes I previously indicated will go ahead on 2 and 5 April.
“The stay at home rule is being replaced by a requirement to stay local - while Covid levels remain high in some areas, and while a lot of people remain unvaccinated, we do not want the virus to spread from areas with relatively high prevalence to areas with low rates of infection. That’s why the current travel restrictions, which prevent non-essential travel outside your local authority area, are really important.
“It will be easier to relax more restrictions in the future if case numbers remain under control, so when things open up slightly this weekend please continue to stick to the rules, and follow the advice and the instructions given by store staff to keep you and the other customers safe.
“Stay at home – for now - protect the NHS, and follow the FACTS advice when you are out and about to help save lives.”
Nearly all pupils will return to full-time school when the Easter holidays end
However, children who are on the shielding list are advised to stay at home until 26 April, in line with advice from the Chief Medical Officer. All other pupils, will return to school once the summer term starts.
Strict 2 metre physical distancing between pupils in secondary schools will be removed and schools will consider how they can strengthen other mitigations.
Following the national expansion of lateral flow testing, twice-weekly tests are available for all school staff in primary, secondary and special schools and for secondary school pupils.
wear a face covering
avoid crowded places
clean hands and surfaces regularly
stay 2m away from other people
self-isolate and book a testif you have COVID-19 symptoms
Cook Grow Sew are continuing with helping the community reduce, reusing and recycling delivering activities and workshops in the following areas Energy, Waste and Food. The workshops will include information on reducing carbon footprint and skills on reducing, reusing and recycling giving innovative ideas.
Home Office signs legal agreement to improve compliance with equality law
In November 2020, following the use of our enforcement powers under section 31 of the Equality Act 2006, we found that the Home Office had failed to comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) when developing, implementing and monitoring hostile environment policies. In particular, it did not properly consider the impact its policies would have on Black members of the Windrush generation.
Following this, the Home Office has signed a legal agreement, under section 23 of the Equality Act 2006, which sets out the actions the department will take through a two-year action plan.
For example, the Home Office will have to demonstrate that it:
Looks for and properly considers evidence and feedback from stakeholders representing affected groups to understand the equality impacts of policies and practices.
Has a clear understanding of equality data and evidence that it uses to inform decisions and policymaking at all levels, including of the potential and actual impact of the department’s work on different protected characteristic groups.
Has taken meaningful action to improve internal knowledge and expertise on how to comply with the PSED.
As part of the action plan, the Home Office has agreed to establish a Community Stakeholder and Engagement Hub and take steps to improve the advice given to ministers about equality.
We will monitor and advise on the implementation of the action plan. If the Home Office does not adhere to the terms of the agreement we can take further enforcement action, including applying for a court order requiring them to comply.
Our report was designed to help the Home Office meaningfully comply with its PSED obligations in the future development, implementation and monitoring of immigration policy and practice. This will help the department deliver on its commitment to act on the Windrush Lessons Learned Review recommendations. It will also ensure the Home Office’s services work effectively for people of all backgrounds, regardless of race, and that the UK Government meet its equality and human rights legal obligations.
Our Chair, Kishwer Falkner, said: “The experiences of the Windrush generation must never be repeated, and must never be forgotten. They serve as a stark reminder of the importance of adhering to equality laws, so that no one has to suffer such unjust treatment. When used properly, the PSED is vital in ensuring all public services work effectively for all of their users, regardless of background. By effectively ignoring it when implementing the hostile environment measure, the Home Office’s actions had a profound effect on many people’s lives.
"If we are to be a fair and equal society, then equality and human rights has to be at the core of everything we do. Other Government departments can learn from this lesson, and make sure they are taking all of the appropriate steps to meet their legal obligations.”