Scotland has hundreds of golf courses, such as the world famous St Andrews Old Course, which help boost the country's tourist trade Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Sport in Scotland has been subjected to a strict lockdown since the coronavirus flared up in mid-March, but all that set to change with a government directive set to relax measures in the country.

In a statement to the Scottish Parliament, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon outlined a four-stage plan that will cautiously allow a return to normalacy that favours sports.

Beginning from as soon as May 28, Sturgeon said: “Some non-contact outdoor leisure activities will be allowed to restart, such as golf, tennis, bowls and fishing, subject of course to appropriate hygiene and physical distancing.”

While the lockdown denied Scotland from staging historical events like the Grand National jumps festival, Scottish Cup and Premiership, not many are scheduled for the month of June.

However, from July 9-12, The Rennaissance Club close to Edinburgh is set to host the Scottish Open, one of the European Tour’s premier events, for the second successive year. The event was won last year by Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger.

Golf, tennis, bowls and fishing are hugely popular sports in the country. Like most countries in Europe, Scotland has not escaped the wrath of COVID-19 with 14,856 positive tests and 2,221 fatalities.

However, Sturgeon, who is looking for solutions to get Scotland back on its feet, said in her statement to the Scottish Parliament: “In addition, people will be able to travel, preferably by walking or cycling, to a location in their local community for recreation.

“Those phase one measures - most of which have an outdoor focus - are not in place yet, and they are dependent on us continuing to suppress the virus. They will also be monitored carefully as they do take effect.”

A move to phase two would include conditions for the “resumption of professional sport in line with public health advice”.

This will allow elite level athletes to compete and also pave the way for the intended return for football.

Tennis Scotland chief executive Blane Dodds has welcomed the easing of lockdown restrictions.

“We have been developing guidelines with the support of the LTA and sportscotland, which will set out consistent guidance to allow clubs and players to prepare for getting back on court safely,” he said.

“That guidance will now be updated for Scotland specifically, following the full publication of the Scottish Government’s revised conditions for sport and exercise. Updated guidelines for tennis will be published tomorrow.

“We are all looking forward to getting back to tennis as soon as it is safe to do so.”