Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed at a COVID briefing today that a number of coronavirus restrictions are to be eased from next Monday (May 17).

The country is to move into level two, and that means a variety of new freedoms can be enjoyed.

For the first time since Christmas, people will be allowed to meet in each other's homes in limited numbers - groups of up to six people from no more than three households.

And she also confirmed that hugging will be permitted as social distancing will no longer be required for those friends and households visiting one another.

The First Minister said: "I'm able to confirm that the main purpose of my remarks is to give the go-ahead to the move to level two, with associated changes to the rules that had been scheduled for Monday, May 17."

There were also tentative plans for foreign travel to resume, with some countries to be placed on a green list, meaning holiday-makers won't have to quarantine on their return.

We’ll be able to grab a pint from a pub and not have to sit outside in the disappointing Scottish Spring we’ve been having, as indoor hospitality can resume with alcohol being served and pubs or restaurants allowed to stay open until 10.30pm.

There will still be a limit of six adults - but they can now come from three different households, whereas before it was two. Children under 12 will not be included in the number of people, but will be for the number of households.

Restrictions on the number of people who can meet outdoors will also be relaxed, with eight people from eight different households being permitted to meet up. Children under 12 will not be included as part of the eight people or households.

A variety of other entertainment venues will open, including cinemas, theatres, bingo halls, and amusement arcades. Good news for yoga fans and football five-a-siders as indoor exercise groups and outdoor contact sports will also be allowed to return.

There are also plans for concerts and other indoor and outdoor events to return, though to begin with they will operate with reduced attendees.