When did lockdown start in Scotland? Key dates and milestones as country marks anniversary of Covid restrictions

The first coronavirus lockdown was imposed in March 2020 - here’s what has happened since then

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 11:56 am

Scotland is marking one year since the country first went into a national lockdown.

The stringent restrictions announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during an address to the nation on 23 March 2020 mirror the rules millions of Scots are still adhering to 12 months later.

On the first anniversary of the initial Covid-19 measures, those who have lost their lives during the pandemic will be commemorated during a minute’s silence.

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One year since Scotland's first lockdown, the country is only just beginning to emerge from another (Getty Images)

When lockdown rules were first imposed in Scotland, the national death toll stood at 16 and many believed the restrictions on everyday life would be temporary.

Yet, in the year since, more than 9,800 deaths where coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificate have been recorded and the country is only just beginning to emerge from another lockdown.

Here are the key milestones and dates during Scotland’s year-long fight against the pandemic.

23 March 2020 - First Minister announces first national lockdown

Nicola Sturgeon makes a televised address to the people of Scotland, announcing the introduction of national lockdown measures.

This includes the “stay at home” order, including once-a-day exercise and employees working from home where they can.

She states: “Let me blunt. The stringent restrictions on our normal day to day lives that I’m about to set out are difficult and they are unprecedented.

“They amount effectively to what has been described as a lockdown.”

The tight measures come into force the next day.

5 April 2020 - Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer resigns

Scotland’s CMO Catherine Calderwood resigns after making two trips to her second home during the national lockdown.

On the same day, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is admitted to hospital after contracting coronavirus.

20 April 2020 - NHS Louisa Jordan hospital opens

NHS Louisa Jordan, the £43m emergency coronavirus hospital at the Scottish Events Campus (SEC) in Glasgow, opens.

It is initially hoped that it will be available and operational to receive Covid patients for at least five months.

18 May 2020 - Update to coronavirus symptoms

The UK Government announces an update to coronavirus symptoms, telling people to self-isolate if they develop a new, continuous cough, fever or loss of taste or smell.

Testing for Covid-19 is to be made available to everyone who is symptomatic over the age of five in Scotland.

29 May 2020 - Routemap out of lockdown begins

The First Minister announces cautious changes to the current lockdown restrictions on 28 May, including the relaxation of restrictions on outdoor activities.

Scotland begins to exit lockdown in four phases, with the first changes taking place on 29 May.

The move to phase 2 begins on 19 June, while the third phase - including the reopening of hairdressers, pubs, restaurants and holiday accommodation - comes into place from 10 July.

The country remains in phase 3 thereafter, as the virus remains a significant threat to public health.

10 July 2020 - Face coverings made mandatory in shops

Face coverings become mandatory in all shops in Scotland.

15 July 2020 - More than 700,000 Scottish workers are furloughed

The UK Government announces that 736,000 Scottish employees have been furloughed so far, as part of the Job Retention Scheme.

3 August 2020 - Eat out to Help Out launches

The UK Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme to support restaurants and cafes during the pandemic launches in Scotland.

Diners receive a maximum £10 per person discount at selected venues.

5 August 2020 - Local restrictions introduced in Aberdeen

A Covid outbreak in Aberdeen prompts the government to announce the introduction of local restrictions to halt the spread.

11 August 2020 - Schools reopen

Pupils return to classrooms full-time on 11 August, after the summer break, for the first time since the lockdown was introduced.

1 September 2020 - Local restrictions introduced in Glasgow

Local coronavirus restrictions on indoor gatherings are introduced in East Renfrewshire, Glasgow and West Dunbartonshire following outbreaks in the areas. Schools remain open.

Restrictions are extended to people living in Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire on 10 September.

23 September 2020 - Major outbreak at Scottish university

Glasgow University announces the emergence of a “significant” coronavirus outbreak within student residences following freshers’ week.

It says 600 students are self-isolating across the campus, but the actual number of infections is likely to be higher.

7 October 2020 - Restrictions on hospitality introduced

Temporary restrictions forcing hospitality venues to close at 6pm indoors with no sales of alcohol are introduced.

The rules apply to all licensed premises in the central belt area.

The restrictions are extended until 2 November on 21 October.

2 November 2020 - Local levels system implemented

A new, five-tier local lockdown levels system is put in place from 6am on Monday 2 November.

Which level an area is placed in is based on the prevalence of the virus, including the number of positive cases and the capacity of local hospitals.

Most areas in Scotland are initially placed in Level 3, while more rural places, including the island communities, enter Level 2 and 1.

9 November 2020 - Pfizer vaccine efficacy revealed

Pfizer and BioNTech publish the results of a phase three clinical trial of their potential coronavirus vaccine.

It is shown to be more than 90 per cent effective in preventing the virus.

Later in November, the government outlines its plan for the delivery of Covid jabs in Scotland.

8 December 2020 - First vaccinations administered in Scotland

The first people in Scotland are given a Covid jab.

Those who will be carrying out the vaccination programme are inoculated first.

On 14 December, the first vaccinations in care homes in the country take place.

19 December 2020 - Tightening of Christmas restrictions

After having announced a five-day relaxation of restrictions over the Christmas period to allow families to see each other, Nicola Sturgeon says that the easing will be limited to Christmas Day itself.

The decision is made to prevent the spread of a new, more transmissible UK strain of the virus first identified in Kent.

Travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK is prohibited from 20 December.

26 December 2020 - All of Scotland moves into Level 4

Due to concerns surrounding the new variant, from Boxing Day the country moves into the tightest Level 4 restrictions, which includes the closure of non-essential retail and hospitality.

4 January 2021 - New lockdown in Scotland

The Scottish Government announces that mainland Scotland will move into lockdown from 5 January 2021.

The “stay at home” order is re-introduced, and people are not allowed to leave the house unless for an essential purpose.

On the same day, ministers announce the roll-out of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Scotland.

Lockdown restrictions are strengthened further from 16 January as cases continue to rise.

15 January 2021 - Suspension of all travel corridors

Following the identification of a new Covid variant in Brazil, the government suspends all international travel corridors.

This means all passengers travelling into Scotland from outside the Common Travel Area will have to self-isolate for ten days. They also require a valid negative test.

10 February 2021 - One million people in Scotland vaccinated

The number of vulnerable people given a first dose of the Covid vaccine in the country has reached the one million milestone, the government announces.

15 February 2021 - Hotel quarantine introduced

All passengers travelling into Scotland from outside the Common Travel Area are told they must book and pay for managed isolation in quarantine hotels from this date.

These measures are more stringent than the UK Government’s, which require anyone travelling to the UK from a country on the “red list” to quarantine in a hotel.

22 February 2021 - Some school pupils return to classrooms

The country’s youngest children, including those in early learning and primaries one to three, return full-time to classrooms on this date.

It is then announced that all remaining primary school children will return to school on 15 March, while secondary pupils will go back on a part-time basis from then.

23 February 2021 - Roadmap out of lockdown announced

Nicola Sturgeon unveils her roadmap out of lockdown a day after Boris Johnson’s announcement for England.

She details the order of priority for businesses reopening in Scotland and gives provisional dates for when restrictions might ease.

3 March 2021 - Furlough scheme extended

During his Budget announcement, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces that the furlough scheme will be extended until the end of September 2021.

A number of other coronavirus schemes are given an extension, including the Universal Credit uplift.

16 March 2021 - Timetable for lifting of restrictions unveiled

The First Minister reveals a timetable for the easing of the Covid lockdown implemented in January.

Her announcement includes the lifting of the “stay at home order”, as well as dates for the reopening of hairdressers, non-essential shops and hospitality venues.

17 March 2021 - Two million people vaccinated in Scotland

Another major vaccine milestone is reached as the rollout delivers a first dose of the jab to more than two million people in the country - 44 per cent of the adult population.

A day later, it is announced that the NHS Louisa Jordan hospital will close on 31 March.

23 March 2021 - One year after first national lockdown was imposed

One year since the first national Covid measures were introduced, Nicola Sturgeon makes a further announcement on the roadmap out of lockdown in Scotland.

It is hoped that the “stay at home” order will be lifted on 2 April, followed by the easing of restrictions in three-week periods on 5 April, 26 April and 17 May.

There is also a minute’s silence held at midday to remember the people who have lost their lives during the pandemic, as well as to reflect on the sacrifices the nation has made since coronavirus rules were first implemented.