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Visit Scotland | Alba

The Q&A below has been drafted in conjunction with Scottish Government in response to queries we have received following the latest advice regarding COVID-19 and business closures. You can view up to date business advice and resources on our VisitScotland Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice page, including key announcements from the Scottish Government on support for businesses and public health advice, and the latest announcements in our news section.

This page will be updated on a regular basis in response to industry queries as the situation evolves. This was last updated on 2 April 2020. 

Advice on closure of non-essential business premises:

Is this advice or an official closure instruction by the Scottish Government to all tourism providers – all forms of accommodation, tours and transport, visitor attractions and experiences?

The Scottish Government has published the regulations to enforce social distancing for businesses and the public.  View full details on affected businesses.

Advice for Accommodation Providers

For hotels, B&Bs, self-catering accommodation and caravan parks – you should now take steps to close for commercial use as quickly as is safe to do so.  Only provide accommodation for your staff or make yourselves available to help essential workers and support essential services if this is an option.  There are limited exceptions for residents allowed to remain – full consideration should be given to this. View full details on exceptions and information on social distancing.

Advice for Shops

Shops, including tourism facing businesses, that are not providing essential items like food and medicines, should also close. Find out more, including information about exceptions.

Is this a compulsory instruction from Government not to accept visitors, and as such will compulsory closure insurance policies now apply?

See above, also on 17 March, the UK Government agreed with the insurance industry that government advice for the public to avoid pubs, theatres etc. (rather than ordering businesses to close) would be sufficient for businesses with appropriate cover to make a claim, as long as all other terms and conditions of the policy are met.  

May we now contact our booked guests and travel intermediaries and advise them that we are no longer permitted to welcome them as a result of specific direction from the Scottish Government?

Yes, see above re advice.

What advice is there on how to seek compensation for this business interruption?

For information on how to access the Government backed support packages and for business continuity advice please visit

UK Government have published updated guidance on the Job Retention Scheme for wage costs severely affected and support for the self-employed.

Does the directive relate only to leisure travellers? What about business travellers?

Government advice relates to all travellers unless key workers.

Time frames:

Are businesses required to ask guests currently in residence to leave with immediate effect or allow them to stay until the end of their planned stay?

As above re accepting visitors.  Also, the public are asked to follow the advice to stay at home and not to consider that advice optional. Existing visitors are asked to return to their ordinary place of residence, as soon as possible, provided it is safe to do so, and when they travel social distancing should be observed. 

Any visitors who are self-isolating should follow the rules for self-isolating and then return home. Returning to your normal place of residence from a stay elsewhere is considered to be essential travel. Advice is to go home and stay home.   

Are businesses required to contact booked guests to cancel their bookings with immediate effect?

See above re accepting visitors. Also, restrictive measures will be reviewed on a monthly basis – businesses and the public should follow the Government’s advice and keep up to date with any changes that are made at each review.

Should businesses cancel all live bookings up until what date – for the next 3 months? Remainder of the year?

No definite timeframe. Keep up to date with the latest Government advice.

Should businesses refrain from taking any new bookings for arrivals dated up until what point?

No definite timeframe. Keep up to date with the latest Government advice.

Support for essential services:

For businesses wishing to offer free accommodation for essential services staff – how do they go about offering this?

Further information for businesses wishing to offer free accommodation for essential services staff can be found at:

Support and information for travellers:

For visitors now required to leave Scotland, what advice and support is there?

Travellers should consult their foreign ministry for up to date travel advice for traveling from the United Kingdom and their travel providers for advice on alternative travel arrangements. We are looking at provision for visitors who are unable to return home due to travel restrictions in their home nations. No one should find themselves without a safe place to stay.  

Can individuals who own a second home visit this property? 

Essential travel does not include visits to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar, whether for isolation purposes or holidays.  

People should remain in their primary residence. Not taking these steps puts additional pressure on communities and services that are already at risk. 

Is it ok for people to travel to beauty spots for a walk or daily exercise? 

The current advice from the Scottish Government (30/03/20) is to follow the self isolation guidelines to stay at home and only go outside for essential food, health and to travel to work (where it is essential). People are also advised to stay local for their daily exercise and to avoid travelling by car to do so.