Face masks will continue to be required and public access restricted in Scottish courts despite the general easing of COVID-19 restrictions from today, Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service has confirmed.

As Scotland moves beyond level 0 restrictions, with the First Minister calling on everyone to “continue to be careful, cautious and sensible” SCTS confirmed that the measures previously announced to apply from 9 August will now be implemented to maintain both safety and throughput of business.

Although physical distancing regulations are lifted, court users are encouraged to respect personal space by practising 1m physical distancing in all court buildings.

Baseline safety measures will remain in place, and SCTS will continue to encourage good hand hygiene, maintain enhanced surface cleaning – especially of high touch-point areas – and maintain good ventilation.

The legal requirement for face coverings in court buildings will continue and the “Safe2Go” contact system will be maintained, requiring all those accessing court buildings to check in and check out using the system.

In order to manage overall footfall and conduct the highest levels of business in a safe environment, general public access to court buildings will continue to be restricted and public counters will remain closed.

As regards “close-contact” self-isolation, those who have had both doses of the vaccine with at least two weeks since their second dose should self-isolate until they receive a negative PCR test, otherwise current guidelines continue to apply.

The guidance for court and tribunal users has been updated.

SCTS added that moving beyond level 0 would support the court recovery programme to tackle the backlog of cases, and allow more multi-accused trials to take place, and more witnesses to attend safely with enhanced support to vulnerable witnesses. An additional 16 solemn and summary trial courts will run daily across the country from September.

Reviews will take place during September and October, considering the public health advice at that point and its implications for the measures in place, including the need to restrict public access to buildings.