Scots can host barbecues for eight people - but guests must bring food and cannot use inside toilet

Simon Johnson
Scots will be allowed to host barbecues from tomorrow - Portra Images
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Scots will be allowed to host barbecues for up to eight people from tomorrow but their guests will have to bring their own food and plates and will be barred from using the toilet.

Nicola Sturgeon announced that lockdown restrictions will be eased from Friday to allow families to meet one other household at a time, subject to a maximum of eight people.

She confirmed Scots could hold barbecues and picnics this weekend but said guests from the other household should bring their own food, cutlery, plates and cups.

In addition, she said guests should not enter the house, effectively limiting the people who could be invited to close neighbours who could return to their own home to use the toilet.

The First Minister argued that failing to observe these precautions could mean the barbecue becoming a "bridge" for the virus between the two households.

Ms Sturgeon also admitted feeling a "bit nervous" that Scots cooped up for almost 10 weeks will go further than the limited changes she wants this weekend, with glorious weather predicted.

Nicola Sturgeon has announced plans to ease lockdown in Scotland from Friday - PA

Her announcement is the first major relaxation of lockdown in Scotland, more than two weeks after restrictions were eased in England.

Other changes allow people to travel from their home for leisure such as sunbathing and sports including fishing, golf and tennis, and will enable garden centres to reopen and construction sites to prepare for resuming work.

A legal limit will not be put on how far people will be allowed to travel for recreation but the First Minister said the "strong advice" of the Scottish Government was to stay within five miles.

The Scottish Government strongly recommends people do not meet more than one other household a day, although this will not be legally enforceable.

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Ms Sturgeon has published a four-phase route plan for reopening society, with the First Minister reviewing progress every three weeks to see if Scotland can move to the next phase or some restrictions need to be reintroduced.

Speaking at her daily briefing, she said R number - the average number of people each virus carrier passes it onto - was between 0.7 and one and Scotland was ready for the first phase.

She confirmed that Scots will be able to meet another household outdoors, in a park or private garden, and the maximum number of people overall should be eight.

"Now, I know how much all of you will be looking forward – all of us will be looking forward to seeing family and friends for the first time in a while. But how we do this is going to be really vital," she said.

"Before you meet up with people from another household you should stop, think, read the guidance and make sure you are protecting yourself and others."

She urged Scots to stay two-metres apart, remain outdoors and avoid touching the same hard surfaces as people from the other household.

"Let me give an example of that. I suspect many of you will be planning a picnic or a barbecue this weekend," she continued.

"If you are, not only should you stay two metres apart from those in the other household, but each household should also bring its own food, cutlery, plates or cups. Don’t share these things.

"And please - don’t go indoors. Being in someone else’s house should still be avoided, unless of course you are providing support to someone who is vulnerable."

Ms Sturgeon said there was no legal limit on how far Scots could travel to meet another household but "if the distance is so far that you would have to use someone else’s bathroom, then perhaps you shouldn’t be doing it."

The First Minister appealed for Scots to "respect the parameters we are setting out", adding people should "ensure things still feel different from normal".

She said the changes are "important first steps back to some kind of normality" but warned no changes are "risk-free".

Greenkeeper Simon Connah crosses the Swilcan Bridge on the Old Course at St Andrews, in Fife as final preparations are completed to the course ahead of reopening - PA

Dr Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said: “Entering phase one of the easing of restrictions will be welcome for many but the clock for businesses is ticking.

"The need for firmer timelines is an increasingly urgent matter for companies across all sectors who still face significant risk if they are not able to open urgently. Preparing for a safe return to the workplace is the utmost priority for businesses and should be too for government.”

Charlie Whelan, ambassador for the Scottish Gamekeepers Association fishing group, said: "We look forward to seeing a few more local people back out enjoying the wonderful rivers and fisheries in their communities and the high quality angling experiences on offer in Scotland.

“This move will benefit people’s mental and physical wellbeing and it will also be great to see kids back out fishing within their family groups."