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Scots now permitted to run more than once a day

Scottish runners hoping for some relief from the restrictions of lockdown – formally extended a further three weeks last Thursday (7 May) – got some unexpected good news at the weekend.

While First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was at pains to emphasise last night (Sunday, 10 May) that ‘Stay at Home’ remains unequivocally the Scottish government’s message to citizens – despite a shift in that of the UK government to ‘Stay Alert’ – one small but significant change has been made to the restrictions we’ve all had to live with for the last 49 days.

From Monday, Scots will be allowed to run – or take any exercise outside – more than once a day.

In line with previous regulations, that exercise should still be taken close to home; group exercise or training, with people not from one’s own household, remains forbidden, and parks are still to be used only for exercise.

With the UK and Scottish governments increasingly taking different views on how best to manage and combat Coronavirus, it’s no surprise the situation for runners in England is different: the much anticipated gradual easing of restrictions on outdoor activity outlined in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s own Sunday night address only apply there.

From Wednesday, runners south of the border will be able to take unlimited exercise, and have been very explicitly granted permission to drive to do so. English parks can also be used once again for leisure, sport or sunbathing, but either alone or with members of one’s own household.

Social distancing regulations – keeping 2m away from those not in one’s own household – still applies to all runners across the UK.

There was no word from either the Scottish or UK government on when any sort of public gatherings – like training sessions, group runs or races – might again be permitted.

But with Boris Johnson speaking about some hospitality and ‘other public places’ opening in July at the earliest, and providing several stringent conditions are met, life returning to normal for runners seems unlikely soon.

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