‘Outdoor focus’ in first phase of Scotland’s plan to leave lockdown

Runners, like the rest of the population, were waiting anxiously to hear the First Minister of Scotland outline her government’s plans, earlier today, for the easing of the current state of Coronavirus lockdown.

The first phase, which we are scheduled to enter next Thursday (28 May) – but only if the virus continues to be repressed – sees many restrictions eased for those who love the outdoors, including runners.

From 28 May, travel for exercise and leisure – preferably by foot or bicycle – will be explicitly allowed. However, the advice remains that we should still attempt to remain local, or close to our own local areas (‘broadly within 5 miles’), for our runs where possible.

Sunbathing, as well as some outdoor, non-contact sports like golf, fishing, hiking and canoeing – provided social distancing is observed – will also be allowed.

Acknowledging that the risk of transmitting the virus seems to be lower outdoors, Scots will also be allowed to meet outside with people from one other household in this first phase of transition – a change which opens up the possibility of heading out for a regular ‘socially distanced’ run with a friend or family member from another household.

As we saw with the First Minister’s earlier announcement allowing unlimited outdoor daily exercise, ‘normal’ life is still a long way off for Scotland’s runners.

Group running sessions would still be banned until at Phase 2, when meeting outdoors with larger groups from different households will be allowed, and playgrounds and some outdoor sports facilities can reopen.

Travelling further for a run, but still within your local area, will be allowed in Phase 2, with travel ‘beyond the local area’ permitted in Phase 3.

Gyms will be allowed to open, subject to distancing and hygiene measures, in Phase 3, when the virus is considered 'suppressed'.

Large gatherings like races will not be allowed until Phases 3 or 4 – when the virus is no longer considered a threat – and then only depending on their size and ability to implement social distancing.

Each phase of the transition will be reviewed after three weeks, meaning any move to Phase 2 would not come until the end of June.

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