Nicola Sturgeon made her long awaited announcement today on lockdown easing in Scotland, confirming when the final restrictions will be lifted. 

It has been nearly 18-months since the first Covid restrictions were introduced in March 2020,  but now the end is finally in sight. 

August 9 has been a key date for Scots ever since the Scottish Government identified it as the potential final landmark in the roadmap out of lockdown. 

And now we finally know what is set to change on that much-anticipated Monday. 

While England abandoned all Covid restrictions on July 19, Scotland has been in level 0, it's lowest level of restrictions. 

We now know for sure that level 0 will be no more after August 9, so here's seven things we learned from Nicola Sturgeon's announcement today.

1. Scotland will move beyond level 0 on August 9 

Yes, you read it correctly - from Monday August 9, Scotland will no longer be under any level of Covid restrictions. 

For months, Scotland has operated on a tiered system by which different areas have faced different restrictions based on the prevalence of Covid in the region. 

It has led to much chopping and changing for businesses, with areas often moving up or down a level. 

Since July 19, the whole of Scotland has been in level 0, the country's lowest level of restrictions. 

Now, the confirmation that we will move beyond level 0 next week means that major restrictions on normal life will finally be abandoned.

2. Nightclubs can reopen

It's been a long 18 months for nightclubs in Scotland, whose doors have been shut since March 2020. 

They may have reopened in England on July 19, but it will be August 9 in Scotland when clubbers can finally flock back to the dancefloors. 

No venues in Scotland will be legally required to close from August 9. 

This paired with the lifting of social distancing means concerts will also be allowed to resume, which is good news for music fans and artists alike. 

3. The end of social distancing

Social distancing will no longer be required in any social settings either indoors or outdoors. 

Once again this has been a long time coming; social distancing regulations have been in place for over a year and have changed the way we live. 

However, from August 9 all legal physical distancing regulations will be lifted which will see society take a significant step towards pre-pandemic normality. 

It will also allow many businesses to return to more standard operation, with places no longer limited by distancing regulations, allowing for more customers in venues. 

Despite this, the Government will continue to advise keeping a safe distance and avoiding crowding places.

4. Baseline measures will remain in place

Nicola Sturgeon also confirmed that some baseline measures will remain in place to continue to curb the spread of the virus. 

Mitigation measures that will remain in place include:

  • wearing facemasks in all the same settings 
  • continue to advise homeworking where possible
  • indoor hospitality and similar venues required to collect the contact details of customers
  • continued travel restrictions
  • rigorous hygiene, including regular hand washing, will continue to be essential

5. Isolation rules change for fully jabbed people

People who have received both doses of the vaccine and are identified as a close contact of a positive case will not necessarily be required to isolate. 

Instead, such individuals will be required to get a PCR test and isolate until the results come back. 

If their test is negative, they will no longer have to isolate. 

It's a similar story for those aged 5-17, who will be required to take a PCR test but can end isolation if this is negative. 

6. Blanket isolation in schools ending

The blanket isolation rule on school bubbles will no longer be implemented meaning fewer young people will miss out on important chunks of their education. 

Currently, pupils are divided into bubbles, and if one student tests positive, everyone in this bubble must isolate. 

However, from August 9, this will no longer be the case, replaced by a more targeted approach.

7. Covid in Scotland is continuing to decline

The green light for August 9 has been catalysed largely by the declining case rate in Scotland. 

One month ago, cases in Scotland were multiplying at alarming speed, calling into question whether lockdown easing would be able to go ahead. 

However, the picture has changed over the past couple of weeks, with case numbers continuing to fall as the vaccination programme continues. 

Yesterday, 1,016 positive tests were recorded, with 406 people in hospital with Covid and 9 more deaths recorded.

Currently, there are around 144 cases per 100,000 in Scotland, a figure which is down two thirds from the beginning of July. 

The Government previously targeted September 12 as the date by which they aimed to have offered all adults the second dose of the vaccine.