The First Minister today gave the latest Covid-19 update to a virtual session of parliament where she announced several important changes to restrictions. From Monday 19 July, all remaining parts of Scotland will move to level 0. This move will be made with certain modifications, however, which will be applied uniformly across the country.
The First Minister today, Tuesday 13 July, gave the latest Covid-19 update to a virtual session of parliament where she announced several important changes to restrictions.
From Monday 19 July, all remaining parts of Scotland will move to level 0. This move will be made with certain modifications, however, which will be applied uniformly across the country.
In level 0, up to 8 people from up to 4 households can meet indoors at home. Up to 10 people from up to 4 households can meet in a public indoor space – such as a pub or restaurant. Outdoors up to 15 people from up to 15 households can meet - whether in a private garden or public place.
Children under 12 already don’t count towards the total number of people. From Monday, they will not count towards the total number of households ether.
There will be a requirement for 1m distancing between different groups of 15. The physical distance requirement inside public spaces will reduce from 2m to 1m and will apply between different household groups.
Hospitality venues in level 0, in all parts of Scotland including Orkney, will now require to close at midnight. This is a change to what was previously indicated for level 0 - that venues should follow local licensing rules.
The return to office working has been postponed until the move beyond level 0, which it is hoped will happen from 9 August. Until then, employers should continue to support home working, where possible.
Also from Monday 19 July, self-isolation will no longer be required for people arriving from countries on the amber list, provided they are fully vaccinated through a UK vaccination programme and take a PCR test on the second day after arrival.
The First Minister confirmed that the Scottish Government intends to reduce restrictions and move beyond Level 0 on Monday 9 August. This will be confirmed to parliament on Tuesday, 3 August. At that stage, the First Minister indicated that her intention is to remove the blanket requirement for close contacts to self-isolate, as long as individuals are double vaccinated, with at least two weeks having passed since the second dose - and take a PCR test that comes back negative.
In addition, the Scottish Government has asked the education advisory group for advice on whether, to what extent and with what mitigations the self-isolation requirements for young people in education settings who are close contacts of positive cases can be removed. A decision will be made on this ahead of the new academic term.
I have outlined a brief summary below highlighting the key restrictions that will be in place across Scotland uniformly from Monday. In addition, I have provided useful links at this time for what support is available. You can read the First Minister's full statement here.
LEVEL 0 SUMMARY
All parts of Scotland from Monday 19 July:
- Indoors at home, up to 8 people from up to 4 households can meet.
- Indoors at public spaces, up to 10 people from up to 4 households can meet in a public indoor space – such as a pub or restaurant.
- Outdoors up to 15 people from up to 15 households can meet - whether in a private garden or public place. There will be a requirement for 1m distancing between different groups of 15.
- You can provide informal childcare, for example to look after a grandchild.
- Up to 200 people can attend weddings and funerals with social distancing measures.
- Tradespeople can carry out any work in your home such as painting, decorating or repairing.
- You should work from home where possible.
- Hospitality will close at midnight.
WEDDINGS AND FUNERALS
Suppliers of wedding services, and other people employed by the couple getting married do not count towards the cap on numbers at a wedding.
Those accompanying the wedding couple down the aisle do not need to wear face coverings.
Live entertainment at receptions is possible, but people need to be seated at tables.
At funerals people from more than one household can help carry a coffin and take a cord when lowering it.
COVID VACCINATION EVENING DROP IN SESSIONS
Anyone in Orkney, aged over 18, who has not yet had their Covid vaccination is being invited to attend evening drop-in sessions on Wednesday 21 July, 5-7pm.
The session will be held in the Kirkwall Vaccination Centre, at the old Balfour Hospital site. Patients requiring their first vaccination will be welcome to drop in without an appointment.
Booking an appointment can still be made by contacting the Vaccination Centre at 0300 303 5313. Regular updates of NHS Orkney's evening drop-in sessions can be found here.
Young people aged 16 and 17 who care for someone due to old age, physical or mental illness, disability, or an addiction can register for vaccination. They can do this by calling 0800 030 8013 or by joining the Carers Register. You can find out more here.
For those who are unable to attend their assigned vaccination appointment, they can reschedule online here. Information about the Covid-19 vaccine can be found here.
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS' VACCINATION
International students are to be included in the national vaccination programme. More information can be found here.
HOME TESTING KITS
Rapid home testing kits are now available to individuals who do not have symptoms, with members of the public encouraged to test themselves twice weekly. These free kits can be ordered online and delivered through the post, at a local pharmacy or a testing site. Order a home testing kit here.
TEST AND PROTECT
Should you develop Covid symptoms while in Orkney, please immediately self-isolate and call the Covid Assessment Centre on 01856 888211 and you will be advised what to do. For more information please visit here.
NHS Orkney has a direct phone line to book a Covid-19 test. If you have a new continuous cough OR fever OR loss of / change in sense of smell or taste you should self-isolate immediately and call to book a test on 01856 888 211 between 08:00-18:00, open 7 days a week.
Students experiencing hardship over summer as a result of the virus can apply for financial support if they are struggling to meet accommodation and other costs. Backed by £20 million of new funding, students in financial hardship can apply directly to their college or university’s Coronavirus Discretionary Fund. You can find out more here.
PROOF OF VACCINATION STATUS
A vaccination status letter can be downloaded from the NHS Inform patient portal here. For those not online it can be requested in the post via the Freephone Covid Status Helpline at 0808 196 8565.
Only those planning to travel to a country or territory where a record of vaccination status is needed as an entry requirement should download the record or request it. Please note it can take up to 21 days to receive a vaccination status letter.
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES
A helpful search tool for what business support may be available to your business can be found here. Business Gateway Orkney is available to support businesses based in the Orkney and more information can be found here.