Up to four adults from two different households will be able to meet outdoors in Scotland from Friday of this week, it has been confirmed.
The current rules only allow outdoor meetings between two adults from two households.
Restrictions on young people will also be eased, with four people aged between 12-17 able to meet even if they are all from different households.
Outdoor non-contact group sports for adults will also restart on Friday.
And people will be able to gather for communal worship from Friday 26 March.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the “modest” easing was the result of the progress the country was making in supressing the virus.
However, the overall requirement to stay at home will remain in place except for specific purposes – which from Friday will include limited, outdoor socialising and recreation.
And the first minister said the strong grounds for hope must be balanced by caution.
She said: “Because we have been in lockdown, it is easy to overlook the fact that the virus we are dealing with now is much more infectious than the one we were dealing with in the autumn.
“But we will be reminded of that very quickly if we try to do too much too soon.”
Ms Sturgeon said she will set out a firmer indicative timetable for re-opening the economy – including shops, hospitality, hairdressers, gyms and parts of the tourism industry – next week.
She also said she hoped to be in a position to relax the current travel restrictions in the weeks ahead – but insisted that it was not yet safe to do so.
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