The Scottish government’s remaining Covid powers are set to be extended for several more months.
Legislation mandating face coverings and vaccine passports was due to expire on 28 February.
However, this looks set to be pushed back to 24 September, with Deputy First Minister John Swinney saying it was important to keep options on the table.
Scottish ministers will continue to assess the rules every three weeks, with the next review on 22 February.
The move came hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the end date for restrictions in England could be brought forward to later this month.
England’s restrictions, including the legal requirement for self-isolation, are due to expire on 24 March – but Mr Johnson said this could happen “a full month early”.
Both the Scottish and UK governments are to set out their long-term plans for living with fewer restrictions after the coming week of recess at Holyrood and Westminster.
But while Mr Johnson hinted that restrictions could come to an end early if case numbers continue to stabilise, the Scottish government has moved to extend the period in which they might continue to apply.
The regulations laid at Holyrood cover;
- the use of face coverings
- the vaccine certification scheme
- and the requirement for businesses and services to take steps to minimise the spread of the virus.
Mr Swinney stressed that this did not mean curbs “would necessarily remain in force until September”, and that they would continue to be reviewed on a three-weekly basis.