This is when shops in Scotland could begin to reopen

This is what you need to know about stores reopening in Scotland (Photo: Shutterstock)This is what you need to know about stores reopening in Scotland (Photo: Shutterstock)
This is what you need to know about stores reopening in Scotland (Photo: Shutterstock)

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon issued a route map on 21 May, outlining a phased lifting of lockdown restrictions in Scotland.

But what did the plan say about when non-essential shops, such as clothes and book shops reopen?

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Retailers have been strongly affected by their closures due to the coronavirus, with clothing stores like Oasis and Warehouse closing permanently.

Here’s what you need to know.

When will retail stores open?

Small retail units could begin to reopen in phase two of the route map laid out by the Scottish government.

The map explained that these stores would have to implement “physical distancing” measures in order to provide a safe environment for shoppers.

These measures could include limiting how many shoppers are in the store at one time, placing distance markers on the floor and other hygiene measures like plastic screens in front of tills.

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Larger retail stores would be able to open their doors, again with physical distancing measures put in place, once we have moved into phase three.

Personal retail services are also included in phase three, which refers to businesses such as hairdressers, with similar distancing and hygiene measures in place.

The phase four plan for shopping simply states “all open with improved public health advice” and that “shop local [is] still encouraged”.

How does the phased system work?

The phased system will work in four stages, with Scotland currently still in lockdown before progressing into the first phase.

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FM Sturgeon said: “We are setting out phases by which we will aim to ease lockdown. They are gradual and incremental and will be matched with careful monitoring of the virus.

“We may, at times, need to hit the brakes on easing. However, it may also be that we are able to ease restrictions faster than we initially thought that we could.”

Each phase will allow for less restrictions in areas such as meeting up outdoors, pubs and restaurants reopening and retailers reopening as well.

If things go well in one phase, Scotland will be able to progress into the next phase.

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When will we be in phase 2?

A document published by the Scottish Government explains that “to progress from phase zero to phase one, we will need to have seen evidence of transmission being controlled”.

This would be evidenced by the R number being below one for at least three weeks and the number of infectious cases starting to decline.

The R number refers to the reproduction number as a way of rating the virus’ ability to spread. It’s the number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to, on average.

If everything goes as planned, Scotland should be moving into phase one on Wednesday 28 May.

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After 28 May, the new review cycle for approaching lockdown measures would conclude on 18 June.

To move from phase one to phase two, the publication states: “We would need to have seen the R number consistently below one and the number of infectious cases showing a sustained decline.”

To move into phase three, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) six criteria must continue to be met and the R number should be consistently below one, with a further sustained decline in infectious cases.

What is the WHO criteria?

In April, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom, outlined the criteria countries should be following when lifting lockdown.

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During a media briefing, Adhanom said: “The new strategy summarizes what we’ve learned and charts the way forward.”

The WHO six criteria for lifting lockdown are:

  • That the transmission be controlled
  • Health systems capacities are in a place to detect, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact
  • Outbreak risks are minimised in special settings like health facilities and nursing homes
  • Preventative measures are in place in the likes of workplaces, schools and other essential places people need to visit
  • Important risks can be managed
  • Communities are fully educated, engaged and empowered to adjust to “the new norm”