Coronavirus / Covid-19 situation in Scotland

Update 15 January 2021

Please note this following information applies to Scotland. The situation is different in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

After the initial lockdown and business closures from March to mid July 2020, the Scottish Government has introduced various measures. This page covers the most recent information.

Currently, there should be no non-essential travel between Scotland and other parts of the UK. Please see the latest Scottish Government information regarding travel within Scotland, within the UK and internationally.

All of mainland Scotland (and the Isle of Skye) moved into Level 4 restrictions on 26th December 2020 and the restrictions were tightened on 5th January 2021 to include Stay at Home regulations. This means that holiday accommodation, hospitality businesses, visitor attractions and non-essential shops will remain closed throughout January (and possibly longer).
Orkney, Shetland and the Hebrides are in Level 3 of Scotland's Covid Protection Levels with additional Stay at Home regulations.

Scotland started with its system of Covid Protection Levels (or tiers) in November 2020.
Travel restrictions apply to all areas of Scotland which are in Levels 3 and 4. This means that people living in Levels 3 or 4 must not travel outside their own council area, except for certain essential purposes.

From November 2020, restrictions apply to accommodation in Level 4 and Level 3 areas. Accommodation for tourism purposes is not permitted in Level 4 areas. Accommodation in Level 3 and Level 4 areas can accept guests who are travelling for essential purposes such as work or funerals. Accommodation in Level 3 areas can accept guests but only those who are from the same local council area.
More general rules on accommodation also remain in place. From 23 September only one household (or 'extended household') can stay in each room booked at a B&B establishment or hotel. Please note that B&Bs and hotels can have guests staying in more than one room at any given time, but social distancing must be maintained by anyone from separate households.
People from more than one household (or 'extended household') must not stay in a self-catering unit together while the current restrictions on indoor private gatherings are in place. This means no more than 6 people from any one household (children under 12 are not counted within this limit).


Social gatherings in Scotland
From September 2020, there have been restrictions on social gatherings throughout Scotland. Currently, the law includes:
Level 4 areas - 2 people from 2 separate households can meet outdoors for sport, exercise or social interaction.
Level 3 areas - no more than 6 people from up to 2 households can meet socially in public venues or outdoors in a park or garden.
(Children under 12 from these households are not counted within these limits).

Face coverings in Scotland
It is mandatory to wear a face covering in shops, banks and other enclosed areas such as museums, indoor tourist attractions, cinemas and places of worship.
It is also mandatory to wear a face covering inside bars/restaurants when you are not seated (e.g. when entering/leaving the premises or going to the toilet).
Exemptions apply for children under 5 and for those for whom a covering is inappropriate due to health reasons.
You are also required to wear a face covering on public transport (see below).

Public transport
Please note that it is mandatory to wear a face covering on all public transport (including public areas of bus/train stations and airports) and in taxis. Exemptions apply for children under 5 and for those for whom a covering is inappropriate due to health reasons (see full guidance).
Advance booking of trains and ferries is essential.

Pubs, cafes and restaurants
Under the new system of levels in place from November 2020 onwards, there are restrictions on closing times for restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars in different areas of Scotland. In Level 4 areas, hospitality venues must remain closed (except for takeaways). Click here for full details.
Face coverings are mandatory when you are not seated (e.g. when entering/leaving the premises or going to the toilet).
No more than 6 people from up to 2 different households should meet together at a time (excluding children under 12) in Protection Levels where venues are permitted to open.
In Level 1 areas, 8 people from 3 different households are allowed to meet outdoors.
Hospitality venues are legally required to collect customers' contact details (name and phone number of the lead person in each household group) in case contact tracing is necessary.

Arriving into the UK

Please note that non-essential travel to or from Scotland is currently illegal.
From 18 January 2021, people arriving into Scotland from outside the UK will have to take a Covid test up to 72 hours before leaving the country they are in, and will also be required to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival.
See the latest Scottish Government Covid travel information.
For additional info, see the VisitScotland Travel to Scotland FAQ.

Tourist attractions
Many museums, art galleries, castles and other attractions require pre-booking so that visitor numbers can be well managed. Please check before travelling. You will be asked to wear a face covering when inside. Attractions in Level 4 areas must remain closed to the public.

Good to Go, Scotland Look for the 'Good to Go' logo for businesses which are Covid Prepared. This is the official UK mark to signal that a tourism and hospitality business has worked hard to follow Government and industry COVID-19 guidelines and has a process in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing.

For medical advice if you are experiencing any symptoms of Coronavirus, please consult the NHS website. Scotland is now operating a 'Test and Protect' strategy.
The Protect Scotland app is available to download for free via Apple and Google stores.

Please note that this information is different to the situation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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