A handout picture released by the Scottish Government, April 6, 2020, shows Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaking during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, at St. Andrew's House, Edinburgh.
FILE - A handout picture released by the Scottish Government shows Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaking during the Scottish government's daily briefing on the COVID-19 outbreak, in Edinburgh, April 6, 2020.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Thursday she is ready to cautiously begin lifting some of that nation’s COVID-19 restrictions next week. 

Speaking to the Scottish parliament, Sturgeon said the easing of restrictions would begin May 28, but be phased to avoid a resurgence of the illness caused by the coronavirus.  She said the steps the government takes must also be matched with “rigorous, ongoing monitoring of the virus.” 

Sturgeon said if Scotland continues to see a decline in deaths and new cases, beginning next Thursday, people will be allowed increased outdoor activity including sitting and sunbathing in parks with people from another household. She said they would need to continue to follow guidance on social distancing. 

Garden centers and recycling facilities can reopen and some industries such as construction will be allowed to restart as well as work in agriculture and forestry. 

Sturgeon said schools would reopen on August 11 for the new school year, but children would return to a blended model of part-time school and at home learning to ensure social distancing is observed. 

As the weeks go by, and progress against the virus continues, Sturgeon said restrictions will be relaxed. She stressed they will ease those measure on a time scale that aligns with the development of “test, trace and isolate,” a program that calls for extensive testing, isolating positive cases and tracing people with whom they have been in contact. 

Sturgeon said, "This virus has not gone away," and that moving “too quickly or without proper care, it could run out of control again and very quickly.” She also said, “The danger of a second wave later in the year is very real indeed."