Almost all of Scotland’s remaining Covid-19 restrictions are to end from 9 August, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.
Social distancing will be dropped in most settings, meaning more capacity in pubs and restaurants and larger crowds at sporting events and concerts.
And close contacts of those who test positive for Covid will no longer have to self-isolate – as long as they are fully vaccinated and test negative.
However, the wearing of face coverings in some public spaces will continue.
The first minister also said a “gradual approach” will be taken to returning workers to offices, warning that the virus still poses “real challenges”.
While the changes would restore a “substantial degree of normality”, she said they do not “signal the end of the pandemic or a return to life exactly as we knew it”.
She said: “Declaring freedom from or victory over this virus is in my view premature.”
The number of new Covid-19 cases has fallen markedly from the peak of the “third wave”, with Ms Sturgeon saying the infection rate had fallen by two-thirds since early July.
The percentage of tests coming back positive has also fallen, as has the number of patients being admitted to hospital and intensive care wards with the virus.
The first minister said uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine had been “exceptional”, and that this – along with the fall in cases – made it possible to lift most of the legal restrictions still in force.
From Monday, 9 August, the current limits on the number of people who can meet up will be dropped, as will social distancing rules in most settings.