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Scotland to resume Large outdoor events from 17 January

Large outdoor events can resume without physical distancing or capacity limits from 00:01 on Monday 17 January, following a review of all measures in place to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

To support the lifting of capacity limits on outdoor events, COVID certification will remain for these where more than 4,000 standing or 10,000 seated are in attendance, and all other events and venues previously covered. Organisers of all events with more than 1,000 attendees will be expected to check a minimum of 50% of attendees for certification of vaccination, exemption, or negative test.

From Monday, a person will need to show they have had a booster to be considered ‘fully vaccinated’ if their last vaccine dose was more than four months ago. The NHS Scotland COVID Status app will be updated from this Thursday and will include booster jags on the QR code for domestic settings. Updated paper and PDF certificates are already available on request from the NHS Inform website or helpline.

The Cabinet will next review the state of the epidemic on Tuesday 18 January and consider whether it may be possible to lift capacity caps on indoor live events, including theatre performances and concerts, from 24 January, by which time the impact of the return to schools and workplaces following the festive period should start to show. Cabinet will also consider whether COVID certification should be required in a broader range of settings.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“We remain in a highly challenging phase of the pandemic. Case numbers are high, and the impacts of that are severe, and the future trajectory does remain uncertain at this stage.

“But, because of the efforts we have all made, we are in a better position than I feared would be the case when additional measures were announced in December, and I do hope we are now seeing signs of improvement.

“That is allowing us to start the process from Monday of lifting the additional restrictions – and I hope that next week I will be able to confirm the further steps in that process.

“In the meantime, we can all continue to act in a way that keeps things moving in the right direction. Get fully vaccinated as soon as you can – if you haven’t done so already, please do that and do it this week. Try to limit your contacts for a further period, and prioritise the contacts that matter most to you. If you are meeting other people socially, test before you go, every time, as close as possible to the time you will be seeing other people and remember to record the result whether that is positive or negative, and take all the other precautions that make a difference.

“‘Living with the virus’, a phrase that we hear more and more right now, is what we all desperately want to do. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean waking up one morning soon and finding that COVID has disappeared or that we no longer need to think at all about mitigating the harm it can do. Hopefully, we are on a path from COVID being an epidemic to it becoming endemic – in other words, existing at more manageable and consistent levels.

“These are important issues for not just government, but for all of us – so as we prepare the revised strategic framework in weeks to come, we will consult with Parliament, business organisations and other partners across society. Our aim is to publish the revised strategic framework within the next few weeks.”