NICOLA Sturgeon has refused to rule out any return to lockdown restrictions as Scotland moves beyond Level 0.
Last night, most Covid restrictions were dropped across the country.
Legal requirements for physical distancing – except in healthcare settings – and gatherings have been removed and all venues, including nightclubs, are now able to reopen.
Some measures, such as the requirement to wear face coverings indoors in public places and on public transport, will stay in place.
The First Minister this morning admitted she had “butterflies in my stomach” over the rule changes.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Ms Sturgeon said: “We should still be cautious, this is an infections virus, it has shown us previously that it is highly unpredictable so it makes sense to treat it with respect, don’t underestimate it and be cautious.
“We should also feel positive about where we are right now thanks largely to vaccinations, we are in a much stronger position and that allows us to lift legal restrictions.”
She was also challenged on whether any restrictions could be brought back – something she refused to rule out.
Ms Sturgeon said: “I think any politician, anywhere in the world, in the face of a pandemic of an infectious virus that sits here and says ‘I can guarantee something’ is not being sensible and actually it’s not being frank with people.
“Every fibre of my being hopes that the restrictions we are lifting today in Scotland will never, ever have to be imposed, and am I optimistic about that? Yes.
“Can I guarantee it? Well, I could tell you that right now for the sake of an easier interview, but it wouldn’t be the right thing to say because keeping this virus under control depends on all of us continuing to do all of the sensible things I’ve been talking about.
“We also know that this is a virus that has already mutated, new variants continue to be our biggest threat, so we’ve got to be careful and we’ve got to be realistic.
“But I very much hope that all of that, coupled, of course, principally with the power of vaccination, will mean that never again do we have to face lockdowns.”
The First Minister told MSPs last week that the country could move beyond Level 0, the lowest level of a five-tier system of restrictions in Scotland, due to the “steady decline in cases” and “the success of vaccination”.
Under the new rules, double-vaccinated adults and all children will be able to avoid self-isolation if they are a close contact of someone with coronavirus so long as they are symptomless and provide a negative PCR test.
Pupils and teachers will have to continue wearing masks indoors for up to six weeks after schools return, the Government has said.
But whole classes in schools will no longer have to stay at home if an infection is discovered, although children and adults who are higher-risk close contacts will be told to isolate.
Since the announcement, the Scottish Government has changed its position on requiring masks in nightclubs and people will also now be allowed to drink while standing up in pubs.
Outdoors events of more than 5,000 people and indoor events of more than 2,000 will have to apply for permission from local authorities and the Government to go ahead.