COVID-19 advice - Scotland

Last updated on: 9 July 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.
We’re regularly updating our coronavirus information to ensure you have the most up-to-date and relevant content available.

Latest updates

The Scottish government has announced that some of the advice for people who are shielding will be relaxed from Friday 10 July.

This is because the risk of infection when you are out, is much lower than at the start of the outbreak. If you are on the shielding list, you should receive a letter in the next few days explaining the changes.

Changes for people who are shielding

From Friday 10 July, if you are shielding you can:

  • stop physically distancing from the people you live with.
  • Meet in groups of only 8 people, and don’t meet any more than two households each day, and only outdoors. If you are visiting another household’s outdoor space, you can use their toilet.
  • Travel further than 5 miles from your house, as far as you want.
  • Book places to stay, such as self-catering accommodation, or travel to a second home, provided neither has shared facilities – with your household or extended household.
  • Form an extended household. That means, if you’re living alone, or living only with other people who are under 18 years of age, you can join another household. You and the members of that extended household do not need to physically distance from each other, and you can stay the night in each other’s houses if you choose. Households must partner exclusively – you can only form an extended household with one other household and them with you.
  • If there are children in your household who are under 12, they no longer need to physically distance from other children outside, as long as they themselves are not shielding.

People who are shielding will continue to receive the support they have been getting until 31 July.

Read the information on the Gov Scot website for further details on shielding.

Support if shielding

People who live with you or provide care for you should help you to stay safe by closely following guidance on physical distancing, reducing their contact inside and outside the home.

Read the Gov Scot website guidance on support and how to stay safe when shielding.

If you’re shielding because you are in the highest risk group for coronavirus, then you’ll probably need support in order to get food and other essential supplies and services.

This support can be from family, friends, or neighbours as long as they carefully follow physical distancing guidance. Or you could use online services to order essentials. Most supermarkets offering online ordering are giving priority to people who are shielding.

Support services are available if you’re unable to get help from family or friends and don’t have access to online shopping. These services will arrange for a basic selection of non-perishable food and toiletry items to be delivered to you each week for as long as you need to shield. They are provided and delivered free of charge.

Also, you can use the Viral Kindness website to find help in your local community including with food shopping and deliveries.

Meeting other people (if you're not shielding)

  • You can spend time outdoors in public spaces and exercise and meet two other households (extended households), keeping to social distancing and following good hygiene.
  • Children aged 0-11 may meet outdoors with members of up to two households at a time without the children following physical distancing. They should not meet people from more than two other households each day.
  • Young people aged 12-17 may meet outdoors with up to two households at a time, and should continue to physically distance from others aged 12 or over. They should not meet in groups larger than 8 people in total at a time. There is no limit to the number of overall households that they can meet in one day.

You should only go into someone else’s house to:

  • access a garden – do so quickly and without touching anything
  • use the toilet – avoid touching surfaces with your hands as much as possible, wipe any surfaces that you do touch with antibacterial wipes, wash your hands thoroughly,  dry your hands with a freshly laundered towel or a paper towel  which you should dispose of in a closed bin
  • if you are part of an extended household.

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 they will be compulsory by law from 10 July 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.

Rules about exercise

You can leave your home to exercise. You can do this alone, with members of your own household, or with members of up to two other households outside. You may exercise as often as you wish. You should meet only in small groups - no more than 8 people in total at a time, and you should not meet people from more than two other households each day.  

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.

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.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.

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