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Scottish Government updates 

On 30 March, the First Minister announced that the legal requirements to wear face coverings on public transport and most indoor public settings will become guidance from 18 April.

Legal requirements for businesses and service providers to collect customer details for contact tracing, and to have regard to and take reasonable measures set out in COVID-19 guidance are no longer in place.

The updated Scotland's Strategic Framework has been published. It assesses where we are in the pandemic and sets out Scotland’s approach to managing COVID-19 and its associated harms effectively for the long term as we prepare for a calmer phase of the pandemic.

A financial package to support businesses experiencing cancellations due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant was announced in December 2021.

Guidance for businesses and workplaces

How you continue to provide a safe environment for your customers and staff is important. Although legal COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, employers must continue to manage the risk of transmission of the virus in their workplace.

There is no legal requirement to wear face coverings in most indoor public spaces and on public transport. It is strongly recommended that face coverings continue to be worn where appropriate – including in indoor crowded spaces and on public transport.

Guidance for businesses and workplaces provides advice on steps you can take to help reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in your workplace to create a safer environment for all.

The Scottish Government has created a toolkit to assist businesses.

A further toolkit for event organisers and businesses who are continuing with the option to check COVID status is also available.

Travel restrictions

Following agreement at a cross-UK meeting, all international travel restrictions for people travelling to Scotland ended on Friday 18 March.

Fully vaccinated travellers are no longer required to complete Passenger Locator Forms under the change. Non-vaccinated travellers are no longer required to take pre-departure and day two PCR tests and do not have to complete Passenger Locator Forms.

For current guidance on restrictions, read the travel guidance on the Scottish Government website.

Guest illness

In the event that a guest develops symptoms whilst staying away from home, they should immediately book a test through NHS Inform or, if they can’t get online, by phoning 0800 028 2816.

In accordance with Test and Protect, people with symptoms are required to self-isolate and book a test, and whilst awaiting this test result, everyone in their household should isolate. 

The household / close contacts should also self-isolate whilst awaiting a test and depending on their age, vaccination status and whether they have any symptoms, they will be given advice on self-isolation through Test and Protect as appropriate.  

If guests who are isolating can travel home safely to isolate, avoiding the use of public transport, they should do this. If this is not possible, if guests are able to isolate safely in holiday / temporary accommodation, this may be advisable. If such an extended stay is necessary, unless otherwise provided for in the contractual terms of the booking, the guest will be expected to pay the costs of an extended stay in all but exceptional circumstances. 

Those who test positive for coronavirus should not travel by public transport or take a flight. If possible, they would be able to drive themselves home. If the guest is either unable to travel home safely or to isolate within their current accommodation (for example if there are shared facilities, or risks cannot be mitigated to protect staff), the guest should discuss this with the NHS Test and Protect team.

The guest may be signposted to the National Assistance Helpline on 0800 111 4000 if they need help to isolate and cannot arrange it themselves or through friends and family.

In some circumstances further discussion may be required with the local Health Protection Team and local authority to ensure that the person has suitable accommodation to isolate safely and effectively.

After the required period of self-isolation, guests and anyone else in their party who has been affected can then return to their main place of residence.

View full guidance from Scottish Government on COVID-19 or other illness on the premises.

Test and Protect

As of 18 April, changes to Test and Protect mean that most people without symptoms will no longer be asked to take COVID-19 tests.

Free lateral flow devices (LFDs) for the purposes of twice weekly routine testing will no longer be available for the general population given the changing advice but will continue to be free for any purpose for which testing continues to be.

Until the end of April, people with symptoms should still isolate and get a PCR test. 

Vaccinated close contacts of someone with COVID-19 should continue to test daily for seven days with LFDs.

People who have symptoms of COVID-19 will still be able to book PCR tests in the usual way until 30 April. From that date, test sites will close and people with symptoms will no longer be advised that they need to seek a test. The public health advice for people who feel unwell will be to stay at home until they feel better, to reduce the risk of infecting other people.

Read the Test and Protect transition plan. It sets out the updated plans for the endemic phase of COVID-19, and how the transition from the current testing position to the end steady state will be managed.

Ventilation

The Scottish Government has produced guidance for employers, building managers and those who are responsible for workplace, non-domestic or commercial settings, especially where people work with or are close to other people.

The guidance explains the role of effective ventilation in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in these settings. A range of experts / stakeholders have contributed to this guidance, which you can find on the Scottish Government website.

Information resources

NHS Inform is being regularly updated with the latest clinically approved guidance in partnership with Health Protection Scotland. It has developed a range of materials and toolkits to communicate this information to help businesses communicate this to the public.

These include things like posters for public toilets, shielding guidance infographics and travel advice assets. Visit the NHS Inform website for more information.

Covid Sense - COVID-19 campaign 

The Scottish Government's 'Covid Sense' campaign, has been developed to recognise the current stage of the pandemic both in terms of current public mind set and reflecting the changes in regulations taking place.

The COVID-19 safety behaviours are well-known and have been a part of our everyday life for the past two years. The 'Covid Sense' campaign aims to provide a little reminder of these behaviours and the positive impact they can have, protecting yourself and others.

With changes to testing and isolation guidance from 1 May, and advice regarding adults (+18) who are experiencing symptoms or are not feeling well to stay at home, the 'Covid Sense' Campaign Stakeholder Toolkit has been updated. Find out more about the digital 'COVID Sense' toolkit, including new 'stay at home' assets at the dedicated web page.

Useful links for the tourism industry

Scottish Government COVID-19 guidance and information to review regularly:

Other useful links:

Should you still have questions please get in touch by emailing business.advice@visitscotland.com.

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