Oh no! Sturgeon throws fresh doubt on Edinburgh Fringe | Scrapping restrictions 'not set in stone' © First Minister Of Scotland

Oh no! Sturgeon throws fresh doubt on Edinburgh Fringe

Scrapping restrictions 'not set in stone'

Nicola Sturgeon has cast new doubt on the Edinburgh Fringe by signalling that the vital relaxation in Covid rules may be delayed.

With less than a month to go before the start of the festival the First Minister has said that the date of ‘freedom day’ is not set in stone.

Scotland is currently due to move to so-called ‘level zero’ on July 19 – although that would still demand one-metre social distancing in venues (it's currently 2m)  – followed by the dropping almost all restrictions on August 9.

However with rising infection rates of almost 4,000 new cases a day north of the border, she cautioned that the timetable might have to be put back.

This fresh uncertainty comes on the day that another batch of 60 Fringe shows have been announced, including a daily showcase gig at The Stand.

Further shows - including programming at the Gilded Balloon and Laughing Horse Free Fringe venues – are set to be announced on Monday.

Sturgeon will recall the Holyrood parliament on Tuesday to outline her next steps out of lockdown.

But she told the BBC that even with a weakened link between cases and hospitalisations, the spiralling infection rate could put too much pressure on hospitals.

She said:’"Nothing, against a global pandemic of an infectious virus that has got more infectious and transmissible with the Delta variant, can be set in stone. I want as much as everybody does the certainty of [saying] "by this date we will be free of everything and there will no longer be any restrictions’"

'Every part of me wants that and every part of me believes we are on a journey towards that and heading in that direction. But to set dates in stone while we still face that virus would not in my view be responsible.’

In England almost all restrictions are set to be scrapped on July 19.

Published: 8 Jul 2021

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