Covid in Scotland: What are the latest lockdown rules?

Covid in Scotland: What are the latest lockdown rules?

Tighter coronavirus restrictions have come into force in Scotland, with most of the country placed in level four of the country’s five-tier system of coronavirus restrictions.

The move came after plans to relax the restrictions over Christmas were scaled back.

The new restrictions will take effect from Saturday 26 December and will last for three weeks.

Every part of mainland Scotland will be in level four, while level three will apply in Orkney, Shetland, the Western Isles and some islands in Argyll and Bute and the Highlands. These are Coll, Colonsay, Erraid, Gometra, Iona, Islay, Jura, Mull, Oronsay, Tiree, Ulva and all islands in Highland, except Skye.

All pubs, restaurants and cafes must close in level four areas, although they can still serve takeaways.

In level three, premises will be allowed to open – but no alcohol can be sold, and they must close at 18:00. A maximum of six people from two households can meet together in hospitality venues, either indoors or outdoors.

Customers have to provide their contact details in case contact tracers need to reach them, and must wear face coverings while moving around and when not eating or drinking.

It is mandatory for staff to wear face coverings, and there can only be table service.

People living under level three or four restrictions should not travel outside their own local authority area for anything other than “essential” reasons.

The exceptions to this law include travelling for work, education, outdoor exercise, healthcare or caring responsibilities, essential shopping or visiting someone in your extended household.

It is illegal to travel between Scotland and other parts of the UK unless the journey is essential.

The Scottish government strongly advises against non-essential foreign travel, and the tougher restrictions mean that non-essential travel into and out of Scotland is prohibited from 26 December.

The tightening of restrictions mean that it is no longer possible for anyone to visit other households indoors. This had previously been eased for some islands in level one areas.

There are exemptions to the indoor rules for those who have formed extended households, to support informal childcare arrangements (such as grandparents coming round to care for grandchildren) and for couples who do not live together.

There is also an exception allowing tradespeople to enter your home to carry out work.

A maximum of six people from two separate households can meet outdoors in a private garden or in a park.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from the limits on the number of people who can gather outdoors, and on the number of households. They also do not need to socially distance.

Those aged between 12 and 17 are allowed to meet outside in groups of up to six from six different households, but should observe physical distancing.

Police have powers to break up groups of more than 15 people meeting in houses and to stop parties in student accommodation.

Level four restriction mean the closure of all non-essential shops, although these can remain open in level three. The definition of “essential retail” will be narrowed, forcing homeware shops and garden centres to close.

The use of face coverings is mandatory in indoor communal settings, such as staff canteens and corridors in workplaces.

Face coverings are also compulsory in shops and on buses, trains, trams, planes and taxis.

People are also being advised not to share a vehicle with another household. Where you have no other option, the advice is to keep windows open, wear a face covering and sit as far apart as possible.

In level three places of worship can open with restricted numbers (up to 50 people), and there is a 20-person limit for weddings and civil partnerships, and for funerals, wakes and receptions.

In level four, there is a 20-person limit on indoor worship. The same limit applies for wedding, civil partnership registrations, funerals and wakes. However, wedding or civil partnership receptions cannot take place.

Schools will return from the Christmas holidays on 11 January, several days later than originally planned. Learning must taking place online until at least 18 January.

Senior secondary school pupils in level three and four areas must now wear face coverings in class, not just in communal areas.

Colleges and universities must use blended learning.

Driving lessons can take place up to level three, but not in level four.

Services that involve “close contact” cannot operate. These include hairdressers, barbers, hair removal and massage therapies, dress-fitting, tattoos and piercings, and indoor portrait photography.

Indoor sports facilities, including gyms and leisure centres, have to close but outdoor gyms can stay open.

You can meet other people outdoors for informal exercise or sport and outdoor non-contact sport is allowed.

All holiday accommodation is closed to tourists.

Only essential shops can remain open, although click and collect and online services can continue to operate.

Indoor visitor attractions and all leisure and entertainment premises, including cinemas, must be closed, along with public buildings such as libraries.

Shops, visitor attractions, libraries, hairdressers, barbers and beauticians can open.

However, soft play, funfairs, snooker and pool halls, indoor bowling alleys, casinos and bingo halls must remain closed and outdoor live events are banned.

Contact sports and training for those aged 18 and over are suspended, although professional sports can continue.

Gyms can remain open for individual exercise but indoor group exercise activities are not allowed – with an exemption for under-18s.

Cinemas, bingo halls and amusement arcades are allowed to remain open.

While stadia will be closed to spectators, drive-in events are permitted.

All sport is allowed, except indoor contact sport for over-18s.

Soft play, funfairs, snooker and pool halls, indoor bowling alleys, casinos, music venues and theatres are able to reopen – but nightclubs must remain closed except for permitted events.

Stadia can reopen with restricted numbers, seated outdoor events can take place, and small seated indoor events are allowed.

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