Where we are now
The First Minister announced that Scotland would be entering a lockdown on 23 March 2020. Under law, the Scottish Government must review that lockdown at least every three weeks (most recently on 18 June). The Coronavirus (COVID-19): framework for decision making – Scotland’s route map through and out of the crisis, was published on 21 May and sets out the phases by which we will aim to ease lockdown. They will be gradual and incremental and will be matched with careful monitoring of the virus. Museums, galleries and heritage attractions are expected to resume from Phase 3 with preparatory work for ensuring physical distancing and enhanced hygiene measures able to take place during Phase 1 and thereafter.
Physical distancing duties are set out in regulation 4(1) of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020. A person who is responsible for carrying on a business or providing a service must take all reasonable measures:
- to ensure that a distance of 2 metres is maintained between any persons on the premises (except between members of the same household or a carer and the person assisted by the carer)
- to ensure that they only admit people to its premises in sufficiently small numbers to make it possible to maintain that distance
- to ensure that a distance of 2 metres is maintained between any person waiting to enter the premises (except between members of the same household or a carer and the person assisted by the carer)
On 2 July, we published an update on the approach to physical distancing in Scotland as we move through out of the COVID-19 crisis. The general advice is unchanged. We recommend remaining 2 metres away from people, if at all possible. As we enter Phase 3 of the route map some workplaces or settings within specific sectors could, on an exceptional basis, see the required distancing reduced from 2 metres to 1 metre, on the condition that appropriate mitigations are in place. The sectors identified for exceptions at this time are: outdoor hospitality; indoor hospitality; public transport and retail. We will continue to review other settings for potential exceptions where it is safe to do so but 2 metres will remain the default position. Any organisations which are planning to reopen hospitality or retail spaces in line with this updated guidance must ensure that appropriate mitigations are put in place.
On 9 July, the Scottish Government published Coronavirus (COVID-19) Phase 3: Scotland's route map update, setting out the move to Phase 3 in Scotland's route map through and out of the crisis. As in Phase 2, we are introducing the changes over Phase 3 in stages rather than all on one date.
We published guidance on the collection of customer and visitor contact details on 3 July. The guidance is a tool to support customer and visitor data gathering for businesses and other establishments in Scotland where the nature of the premises means there may be an increased risk of transmission of COVID-19 due to a higher degree of interaction between unknown individuals. It sets out how to collect individual contact details in a safe and secure manner which is compliant with data protection legislation, to assist NHS Scotland in responding to outbreaks of COVID-19. It came into effect on 15 July 2020. The guidance applies to any establishment or operator in sectors that provide an on-site service or work in other people’s homes to deliver a service, including tourism and leisure, including theme parks, museums and cinemas.
We need a strong museums, galleries and heritage attractions sector to help drive Scotland's economic recovery and future prosperity. The Scottish Government recognises the important role of the cultural sector in the health and wellbeing of our society, as set out in the National Performance Framework. In these challenging times, as we move through our route map in response to the crisis and to eventual recovery, the role of museums galleries and heritage attractions, to help play their part in improving the health and wellbeing of our people, together with being a catalyst to inspire creativity and problem solving, will be even more important. Many museums and galleries are free at the point of access and as such are able to support a diverse range of audiences. Decisions on whether to reopen as we move into Phase 3 are for individual organisations to take, ensuring they have considered cost implications.
Organisations should therefore use this guidance to look forward and engage with trade union or workforce representatives to develop workplace specific plans for a managed transition away from current restrictions, allowing sufficient time for that joint work. And while those plans should be fully developed, with measures put in place and tested where possible, they should not be implemented as yet. Decisions on the phasing of a sector wide return for museums galleries and heritage attractions will be made in line with the Route Map.
The Scottish Government has initiated a broad collaborative process to develop sectoral guidance which will underpin that managed transition and provide clarity and confidence to workforce, visitors, and local communities, protect public health and concurrently optimise economic recovery. Aligned with that we are reviewing and enhancing testing and enforcement arrangements, and ensuring that the guidance is coherent and connected, recognising for example transport and other inter-dependencies.
We are working with the UK Government to align our approach and guidance, where possible and on the basis of scientific evidence on the levels of infection in Scotland. This guidance is intended to work alongside UK Government guidance and aims to assist organisations and their workforce ensure a safe working environment and readers will recognise consistent themes within this guidance with the UK Government’s Working Safely during COVID-19 publications.
This guidance should be read in conjunction with the Scottish Government’s business and physical distancing guidance which still applies.
Other key guidance includes:
- HPS: COVID-19 Non Healthcare Settings guidance which provides information on the background to COVID-19, symptoms, general principles of infection prevention and control and health protection measures and what to do if someone becomes unwell on site
- NHS Inform which has a wide range of useful public facing information including information on symptoms and what to do
- Test and protect website from Scottish government that contains information on how getting tested and what you need to do
There has been an unprecedented package of support announced from both the Scottish and UK Governments to support organisations. This support should help many employers preserve their organisations, maintain jobs and pay their staff throughout this crisis. Information on this support is available through findbusinesssupport.gov.scot. We urge all organisations to make use of this. In the event of the risk of imminent closures all available support measures must be utilised to protect the jobs and incomes of Scotland’s museums, galleries and heritage attractions.