SCOTLAND appear set to kick-off their 2022 Six Nations in front of a capacity crowd at Murrayfield on 5th February, after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced this afternoon that the Covid restriction introduced at the end of December which limits outdoor crowds will be lifted next Monday [17th January].
Under the revised rules, Scottish Rugby will have to check the vaccination status of half those attending both home matches during the Championship [they also entertain France on 26th February], and to qualify as fully vaccinated the attendee must have received a booster jab.
“It is reasonable and right to be hopeful on the strength of the latest data, however for the period ahead, it is also prudent to remain careful and cautious,” said Sturgeon in a statement to the Scottish Parliaments.
“We will begin to lift the protective measures announced before Christmas from Monday but we will do that in a phased way that will allow us in the days ahead to form a clearer picture of the trends in infection and the associated impacts.
“The measures I am specifically referring to are limits on live public events, the requirement for distancing between groups in public indoor places and the requirement for table service in hospitality venues serving alcohol on the premises.
“I expect to confirm further dates next week, however, I can confirm today that the attendance limit of 500 at large scale outdoor events will be lifted from Monday, January 17th.
“That means, for example, spectators will be permitted again at major outdoor sporting events including football fixtures scheduled for early next week and the forthcoming Six Nations rugby matches.
“The Covid certification scheme will remain in place for these and other events and venues previously covered – but with two important changes.
“Firstly our guidance will now stipulate that the organisers of large events of 1000 or more people should check the certification status of at least 50 percent of attendees rather than the current 20 percent, or at least 1000 people, whichever figure is highest.
“And second, from Mondaym the requirement to be fully vaccinated for the purposes of Covid certification will include having a booster if the second dose was more than four months ago.
“The NHS Covid status app for domestic use will be updated from Thursday so that its QR code includes evidence of booster vaccination.
“It will also be possible to order updated paper and PDF copies of vaccination status which are now valid for three months and it will still be possible to gain admission to events and venues covered by the certification scheme by providing proof of a recent negative lateral flow test.
“Cabinet will next review the data at our meeting a week today and I hope this will allow us to lift the other protective measures; limits on indoor live events, table service in hospitality and distancing in indoor public places from the 24th of January.”