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Article published 01/12/2020

New strategic approach to managing COVID-19

UPDATED: 1 December

Scotland's Strategic Framework - a five-level framework which will allow for a refreshed strategic approach to suppressing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks across Scotland - has been published. The tourism and hospitality guidance has been updated to reflect this.

This article includes:

Protection levels

Local Authority levels

Travel restrictions

Grants for businesses

Further information

Protection levels

The framework has five protection levels. ‘Level 0’ is effectively the same level of protection as the Route Map Phase 3 measures Scotland reached in August and will act as a baseline, with four levels above that designed to apply increasing protection from the virus in areas according to prevalence, the risk to communities and the need to protect the NHS. Levels will be reviewed on a regular basis.

  • Level zero – closest to normality which the government can get to without a vaccine or effective treatment. Maximum of eight people from three households permitted to meet indoors and most business open. 
  • Level one – a maximum of six people from two households permitted to meet indoors, with most businesses permitted to operate close to normality. (Socialising rules will be kept under review and may at times differ)
  • Level two – restrictions similar to those outside the central belt in place, with no gatherings between households permitted indoors and limitations on hospitality.
  • Level three - similar to current central belt measures, with strict restrictions on hospitality business and indoor gatherings. However, restaurants will be permitted to open at least partially.
  • Level four – closer to a full lockdown, with the closure of non-essential shops. This will be used at times when the virus is running out of control and the NHS is at risk of being overwhelmed. However, six people from two households will still be permitted to meet outdoors, manufacturing and construction will be able to continue, and there will be no limit on outdoor exercise.

Read more information on COVID-19 protection levels, what they mean, why they are being introduced and what the different levels are on the Scottish Government website.

View a summary guidance table for all COVD-19 protection levels.

It was agreed that the new protection levels will increase the opportunity for hospitality businesses to operate during different levels of COVID-19 restrictions. Updated tourism and hospitality business guidance has been published - please ensure you’re aware of any changes. 

Local Authority levels

The Scottish Government has been engaging with local government, stakeholders, economic groups and other partners. Local Authority restrictions:

  • Level one – Highlands, Moray, Western Isles, Shetland and Orkney. (At this time Highland and Moray should not meet anyone who is not in your household indoors in your home or in their home.)
  • Level two – East Lothian, Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City, Scottish Borders, Dumfries & Galloway and Argyll & Bute.   
  • Level three - Midlothian, Fife, Perth & Kinross, Angus, Edinburgh City, Inverclyde, Dundee, North Ayrshire, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire.
  • Level four - Glasgow City, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East and West Dunbartonshire, North and South Lanarkshire, East and South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian. 

You can check the COVID restrictions by protection level in areas of Scotland via the Postcode checker

More detail on the assessment of what level of protection should be applied to each local authority is available on the Scottish Government website.

With level four restrictions due to be lifted on Friday 11 December, the First Minister has said they will confirm what levels those currently under the tightest restrictions will move into next week (8 December).

Travel restrictions

If you live in a level three or four local authority area you must not travel outside the local authority area you live in - unless you require to do so for essential reasons. 

If you live in a level one or two local authority area, you must not travel into a level three or four area except for essential purposes.

Guidance on travel restrictions became law from Friday 20 November. 

Essential purposes covers things like work – if you cannot work from home – education, local outdoor exercise, healthcare or caring responsibilities, and essential shopping where that is not possible locally.

Similarly people – wherever they live – should not travel between Scotland and areas in the rest of the UK with high levels of the virus unless it is essential.

Read the Scottish Government advice and guidance on how to travel safely. And you can view quarantine rules and information on the process for people entering the UK.

Grants for businesses

Ongoing financial support is set out in the Strategic Framework and will be available to businesses which are required to close or which can remain open but will be directly affected by restrictions. The Scottish Government will work with local authorities to ensure grants are made available quickly and efficiently.

From 2 November, firms that are required by law to close are eligible for grants every four weeks for as long as the restrictions last. Based on rateable values, awards will be for either £2,000 or £3,000. 

Businesses which can remain open, but are directly constrained by the measures, will be eligible for grants worth £1,400 or £2,100, again based on rateable value.

On top of this, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will now run until the end of March with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked.