‘Be clearer!’ Nicola Sturgeon criticised on plans to end Scotland’s lockdown

Nicola Sturgeon quizzed on lifting of lockdown by Rennie

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The First Minister has unveiled a more detailed timeline for how the Scottish Government plans to ease the coronavirus lockdown, with provisional dates for the reopening of shops, pubs, restaurants and hairdressers. Nicola Sturgeon also revealed when Scots can expect to meet up with more people both inside and outside, as well as the possible relaxation of travel restrictions. But Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie quizzed the SNP leader on the data driving the restriction easing.

Speaking in Scottish Parliament, Mr Rennie asked: “The First Minister has been insistent that decisions on easing were based on data, not dates yet the statement today has quite a few dates but very little data.

“When we see the indicators that will allow people to understand when they will be moving from one level to the next in their area?

“Can the First Minister be clearer about the indicators and the data?”

Ms Sturgeon replied: “People, I think, want some clarity about the indicative timeline that we’re trying to give them.

“All of this is predicated on the data continuing to go in the right direction.

“If the data starts to go wildly in the wrong direction then clearly all bets are off and that’s why it’s so important for all of us to continue to convey those messages of discipline and continuing to stick with it for longer.”

Ms Sturgeon said the entire country will move to Level 3 from April 26 and “all level 3 areas – or as many as possible” will move to level 2 from May 17.

She said her hope is that all of Scotland will move to Level 1 of coronavirus restrictions by early June and to Level 0 by the end of that month.

Nicola Sturgeon grilled by Ruth Davidson during FMQs

The First Minister said continued suppression of the virus “will allow us to enjoy many of the things that we took for granted before the pandemic – for example, normal family gatherings where we can hug our loved ones, sporting events, gigs and nightclubs”.

She said she hoped that vaccination and Test and Protect would lead Scotland closer to normality, but added she could not say when restrictions would be fully lifted.

“For me to set a precise date for all of that right now would involve plucking it out of thin air – and I’d be doing it to make my life easier, not yours,” she said.

“I am not going to do that. But I do believe that over the coming weeks, as more and more adults are vaccinated, it will be possible to set a firmer date by which many of these normal things will be possible.

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“I am optimistic that this date will be over the summer.

“I know I will not be the only one now looking forward, with a real sense of hope, to hugging my family this summer.”

The First Minister also warned against complacency.

“This is certainly the most hopeful I have felt about the situation for a long time,” she said.

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