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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 05/01/2021

New guidance has been issued on the stay at home regulations which came into effect from 5 January 2021.

To minimise the risk of spreading the virus, you must stay at home as much as possible. By law, in a level 4 area, you can only leave your home (or garden) for an essential purpose. View the First Minister's statement to Parliament

Those in Shetland, Orkney, the Western Isles and the other island areas currently in level 3 will remain there, but will be kept under review. Find out more about what level three means for your business.

So, your business is now in level four. Here’s the key things in terms of what it means for you. This page includes:

Hospitality / food and drink

Restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars are closed.

Takeaways can still operate as normal, provided food and drink is sold for consumption off the premises. Face coverings and physical distancing rules must be followed.

Hotels and other accommodation providers can still serve food to qualifying guests i.e. key or exempt workers, staying in their premises up to 10pm. Room service, including alcohol, is allowed as normal.

The hospitality sector should continue to follow the sector guidance for tourism and hospitality.

Holiday accommodation

All holiday accommodation is closed to tourism. Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering can remain open for essential customers only:

  • anyone who is using that accommodation for work purposes

  • anyone who requires accommodation to attend a funeral

  • anyone who is providing accommodation or support services to the homeless

  • anyone who uses that accommodation as their main residence

  • anyone who needs accommodation while moving home

  • anyone who is unable to return to their main residence

  • anyone who requires accommodation to attend a marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration
  • anyone who requires accommodation to participate in or facilitate shared parenting arrangements

When providing accommodation to workers, this should only be open for essential workers who require accommodation as part of their role. Workers accommodation guidance.

Providers may offer accommodation to customers in circumstances other than those already detailed, provided it is for an essential purpose. An example of this would be where someone needs accommodation for an essential hospital visit. 

The hospitality sector should continue to follow the sector guidance for tourism and hospitality.

In line with Competition and Markets Authority guidance, a full refund should be offered to customers who booked holiday homes, but could not stay in them due to lockdown restrictions. The regulation of consumer protection is the responsibility of the UK Government at Westminster. The Competition and Markets Authority has issued guidance to businesses and consumers about refunds.

Visitor attractions

All indoor visitor attractions such as museums, galleries, heritage attractions, indoor areas of zoos and aquariums are closed. 

Outdoor visitor attractions, such as parks, gardens and the outdoor areas of zoos may remain open, to enable exercise and recreation to be undertaken with appropriate physical distancing in place, but should only be visited in line with travel restrictions.

Visitor attraction’s retail and hospitality facilities will be closed.

Public and customer toilets can be opened as long as it is safe to do so. Where toilets are part of a larger premises, for example a shop, face coverings must be worn.

Specific sector guidance:

Meeting other households

Meeting others indoors in someone's home

You can go into another person’s house only for certain reasons, such as for essential work, to join your extended household or to provide care and support for a vulnerable person. This can include providing emotional support for someone whose wellbeing is at risk, including for those who are isolated because of disability or a caring situation. Read Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for unpaid carers.

Children under the age of 12 do not count towards the total number of people permitted to gather indoors. 

Children under 12 do not need to maintain physical distance from others indoors.


Meeting others outdoors and in indoor public spaces

There has been a change for the 6/2 rule to a 2/2 rule for meeting others ourside. A maximum of two people from up to two households will be able to meet outdoors. 

You can only meet people from another household outdoors and in indoor public spaces for certain reasons such as for work, to join your extended household, for sport, exercise, social interaction or to provide care and support for a vulnerable person. This can include providing emotional support for someone whose wellbeing is at risk, including for those who are isolated because of disability or a caring situation. Read Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for unpaid carers.

Up to two people from two separate households can meet outdoors for sport, exercise or social interaction. 

Children under the age of 12 from these households do not count towards the total number of people permitted to gather outdoors. 

Children under 12 do not need to maintain physical distance from others indoors or outdoors.

The members of an individual or extended household can meet outdoors for sport, exercise or social interaction.

Those at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus (including those who had been shielding, people 70 and over, people who are pregnant and people with an underlying medical condition) should strictly follow the physical distancing guidance.

Travel restrictions

By law, you can only leave your home (or garden) if you have a reasonable excuse.

See further guidance on travel and transport and view maps of local authority area boundaries.

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