COVID-19 advice - Scotland

Last updated on: 23 September 2020

Each of the devolved nations has its own approach to handling the COVID-19 crisis. Here you’ll find the specific details for people living in Scotland.

For more information on local lockdown areas, check the latest guidance on Gov Scot website.

We’re regularly updating our coronavirus information to ensure you have the most up-to-date and relevant content available.

Meeting other people 

From 23 September, new measures have been introduced. These include:

Inside people’s homes 

  • Do not meet people from any other households in your home or another person’s home socially, unless they are in your extended household
  • These rules also apply to children
  • Children whose parents do not live in the same household can move between homes, as can non-cohabiting couples
  • Very limited exemptions apply for childcare, and for tradespeople

Private gardens or public outdoors spaces 

  • A maximum of six people from two households can meet in outdoor spaces
  • You should limit as far as possible the total number of households you meet in a day
  • Under-12s do not count towards the maximum number of households or number of people who can meet outdoors. Under-12s do not have to physically distance
  • A maximum of six 12 to 17 year olds can meet in outdoor spaces, with no household limit. Physical distancing is still required

As before there will be certain limited exemptions to this limit. Read more about meeting other people on the Gov Scot website

Social distancing

Social distancing means staying at home except for a few specific purposes. These include work (if you can’t work at home), exercise, collecting food or medical supplies, receiving essential healthcare or providing care for someone vulnerable.

When you do need to leave your home try, wherever possible, to keep at least two metres from anyone who is not a member of your own household.

Hygiene is also important. Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds using soap and water; when these aren’t readily available, use a hand sanitiser gel instead.

For a full list of the specific purposes you can leave your house for read the Gov Scot website guidance on social distancing.

What about face masks?

Face coverings are mandatory on public transport and are compulsory by law in shops. 

Face coverings should not be used in place of physical distancing and good hygiene. And surgical or clinical-grade masks should not be used by the general public.

Read further guidance on the use of face masks on the Gov Scot website.

Changes to shielding advice - from the 1 August

The Scottish government paused shielding from 1 August.

This will mean that you can follow the same guidance as the rest of Scotland. To stay safe, you should strictly follow physical distancing and hygiene measures.

The Scottish Government have produced practical resources and guidance on how to keep safe. See below:

The food box scheme ended on 31 July. However, the wider network of support that was available to those shielding will remain. The Shielding SMS service and the national helpline also remains open. For more information on support if you've been on a shielding list.

Note, shielding may continue if you live in one of the local areas with restrictions or lockdown. If you’re advised to shield again, the support you receive may vary slightly depending on where you live. Read the shielding information on the Gov Scot website.

Taking extra care and strict social distancing

If you are in the extremely vulnerable group and do go out, you should take extra care to minimise contact with others by maintaining strict social distancing. This includes:

  • Keeping two metres away from people not in your household or support bubble and avoid face to face contact
  • Avoiding crowded spaces
  • Wearing face coverings on public transport, in shops, for hospital appointments and in enclosed public places
  • Washing your hands regularly and use hand sanitiser outside your home if you’ve touched other surfaces
  • Working from home if you can and if you have to travel to work by public transport avoid peak times

Check out these tools to help you protect yourself during daily activities.

Rules about exercise

You should exercise as close as possible to your own home, avoiding unnecessary travel. However, you can travel if you need to in order to exercise somewhere that’s safe for you – for example, if you need to go somewhere that’s accessible by wheelchair.

Read the Gov Scot website guidance on exercise.


You should self-isolate if you or somebody else in your household develops symptoms of coronavirus. This means not leaving your home for any reason and not having visitors unless it’s for essential medical care. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 however mild, you must self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started. You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19 – go to testing to arrange. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

You’ll need to arrange for food and essential supplies to be delivered and these should be left at your door to minimise contact with the delivery person.

Read the Gov Scot website guidance on self-isolating.

Helpline support

There’s a national helpline number 0800 111 4000 you can use if you’re over 70, have a disability, are pregnant, receive mental health support or if you’re entitled to a flu jab because of an existing medical condition. The helpline will be able to connect you to appropriate services in your area.

Staying safe at work

Read the latest guidance for employers and employees to keep safe in the workplace during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Advice for employees of these organisations on employment and financial support is also available at

Check out our dedicated resources about COVID-19 - employment and work.

Keep updated

If you’re feeling isolated from family and friends during these uncertain times, we’re here for you. Find out more about the support available in your area.

Stay in touch and follow us on Scotland Versus Arthritis Facebook and Scotland Versus Arthritis Twitter.

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