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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 06/08/2021

The legal requirement for physical distancing and limits on gatherings will be removed on 9 August when all venues across Scotland are able to re-open.

Some protective measures will stay in place such as the use of face coverings indoors and the collection of contact details as part of Test and Protect.

Capacity limits of 2,000 people indoors and 5,000 people outdoors will also remain in place although some exceptions may be possible on a case by case basis. These will be reviewed on a three weekly basis to ensure they remain proportionate.

Key points

  • It will continue to be the law, subject to existing exemptions, that face coverings must be worn in all the same indoor settings as is the case now
  • Test and Protect will continue to contact-trace positive cases and there will be an ongoing requirement for hospitality and similar venues to collect the contact details of customers
  • Health protection teams will still have the ability to use outbreak control measures including localised restrictions if necessary, while travel restrictions will also be available
  • We will continue to see a careful return of large-scale events and for a limited period, the Scottish Government will keep in place the processes through which organisers of outdoor events of more than 5,000 and indoor events of more than 2,000 will have to apply for permission. This will allow the government and local authorities to be assured of the arrangements in place to reduce risk
  • Continue to issue clear guidance to assist individuals and businesses to reduce the risk of transmission as much as possible. Rigorous hygiene, including regular hand washing, will continue to be essential

Moving beyond level zero – what does it mean for your sector?

When we move beyond level zero and therefore out of the levels framework, almost all COVID-19 restrictions will be removed for businesses and individuals. This will mean that all businesses can reopen and can operate without restrictions on physical distancing. For example, this will also mean that weddings can take place with dancing and singing and mingling as before the pandemic.

From 9 August, there will be no household / number caps and physical distancing requirements will also be removed. This will mean that tourist accommodation will be able to operate on a more ‘business as normal basis’ albeit with appropriate hygiene and ventilation measures.

We will however have to live with the virus for some time to come, so Scottish Government will be asking people to stick to a set of baseline measures to stop the virus resurging and to protect those who do not have protection from vaccination. The baseline measures which are expected to be retained beyond level zero include:

  • Good hand hygiene and surface cleaning. 
  • Continued promotion of good ventilation.
  • Requirement for face coverings.
  • Continued compliance with Test and Protect.
  • Ongoing need for outbreak management capability, including active surveillance.
  • A phased return to the workplace from level zero onwards, while encouraging a greater degree of homeworking than pre-pandemic. This will not only assist with controlling transmission of the virus, but also promote wellbeing more generally. 

There are also likely to be targeted restrictions on overseas travel beyond level zero. However, restrictions will be kept in place only for as long as necessary to respond to the threat of importation. These restrictions are reviewed regularly and will be relaxed when it is safe to do so.

The Scottish Government will engage with businesses – and issue guidance as necessary – to ensure that safe environments for staff and customers are provided, and that all reasonable steps are taken to reduce the risk of outbreaks.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) tourism and hospitality sector guidance has been updated on the Scottish Government website. This includes information to businesses to help them adopt measures to mitigate risks, including ensuring good ventilation; maintaining good hand hygiene; practising respiratory hygiene; getting vaccinated; and continuing to engage with Test and Protect.

The First Minister also said COVID status certification continued to be considered by the government and an app demonstrating COVID status was being developed, to be launched next month. She explained this would be for international travel initially but could be used domestically if certification requirements were expanded.