Shetland will move down to “level zero” Covid-19 restrictions, the First Minister has confirmed.
Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement to the Scottish parliament this afternoon (Tuesday).
She said Shetland and other islands, which are currently in level one, had continued to see extremely low numbers of new cases and had a higher than average proportion of folk fully vaccinated.
The change comes into affect after midnight on Saturday morning.
It means people from up to four households can meet up indoors; local licensing laws apply so there is not set closing time for hospitality and up to 200 people can attend a wedding or funeral.
Some restrictions will still apply, however. Face coverings still need to be worn when visiting shops and hospitality venues, where table service still applies.
Folk are still expected to stay at least two metres apart from people from other households at all times.
Ms Sturgeon asked islanders to “exercise continued care” and reminded any visitors to take a lateral flow test before travelling to minimise the risk of taking the virus with them.
Many other parts of mainland Scotland, including Aberdeen, will move to level one from Saturday morning.
Glasgow, which has been under level three due to concerning case numbers, will move to level two.
A number of areas currently under level two will have to remain with the same restrictions due to case numbers.
These include Edinburgh, Mid Lothian and Dundee, among others.
Ms Sturgeon said the announcement would feel like a “mixed bag” reflecting the fact Scotland was in a transition phase.
She said the vaccination programme meant the outlook was positive, while the new variant also meant the “road ahead was still potentially bumpy”.
With the Indian variant – now known as the Delta variant – spreading faster than previous forms of the virus, and now accounting for more than half of all new cases, Ms Sturgeon said the situation was still “highly precarious”.
She noted that health experts were now warning the UK could be at the start of a “third wave”, which it would be wrong to ignore.
But while previous waves have necessitated tough lockdowns, Ms Sturgeon said the vaccination enable a different and less restrictive response.
“The vaccines are changing the game and that means we can be very optimistic about the chances of much more normality this summer and beyond,” she said.
Ms Sturgeon said the government would be carrying out more detailed work on what life beyond level zero will look like.
She said “all of us have a part to play in beating the virus”.
Folk are urged to get tested regularly and take up the offer of vaccination, including for second doses, which are vital in providing substantial protection, particularly to the new variant.