Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): local advice and measures

Published: 9 Oct 2020
Last updated: 22 Oct 2020 - see all updates

Advice and guidance relating to local outbreaks or clusters of coronavirus cases.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): local advice and measures
Central belt

Central belt areas: local restrictions

COVID-19 protection levels: we have set out plans for a new 5-level system to help tackle the spread of the virus. Read more about the new protection levels, which are due to be introduced from 2 November.

The number of positive cases is increasing rapidly across Scotland, with the central belt a particular cause for concern. Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lothian and Lanarkshire Health Board areas accounted for three-quarters of all new positive cases in the past week with a 7-day incidence rate per 100,000 of greater than 100, neighbouring areas in Ayrshire and Arran and Forth Valley also show a significant increase in cases.

That is why we are announcing a tighter set of measures for the Central Belt, with a set of reinforcing actions for the rest of the nation. This approach minimises the wider indirect harms, focussing effort where it is needed most.

If you live in or run a business in one of the affected areas you should follow these measures, in addition to the general restrictions which apply in Scotland.

Temporary measures are in place and will run until 06:00 on Monday 2 November.

The rest of Scotland should continue to follow the general guidance on staying safe

Affected areas

​​​​These restrictions apply to the following local authority areas:

  • Clackmannanshire
  • East Ayrshire
  • East Dunbartonshire
  • East Lothian
  • East Renfrewshire
  • Edinburgh (City of)
  • Falkirk
  • Glasgow City
  • Inverclyde
  • Midlothian
  • North Ayrshire
  • North Lanarkshire
  • Renfrewshire
  • South Ayrshire
  • South Lanarkshire
  • Stirling
  • West Dunbartonshire
  • West Lothian

To find out if this applies, use this postcode lookup facility to check your local authority.


We want you to be safe. Please think about whether you need to travel, especially if you live in, or would be travelling to or through, the Central Belt. If you need to travel, follow FACTS and stay safe.

We are not imposing mandatory travel restrictions at this stage however you should:

  • avoid public transport unless it is absolutely necessary – for example for going to school or to work, if home working is not an option
  • people living in the five health board areas are advised not to travel outside the health board area they live in, unless they need to;
  • people in other parts of Scotland should not travel to these areas unless they need to
  • you should access goods, services and activities in your local area as much as possible
  • please walk, wheel and cycle when you can to save space on public transport for those who need it
  • please work from home if you can


If you have booked a holiday during this period then you can still go - but you should only travel with and stay with people from your own or extended household group. 

You can take public transport to go to your holiday destination if you need to.

Hospitality businesses

Licensed premises must close during this period.  

Unlicensed hospitality businesses in the affected areas must only open between 6am and at 6pm each day.

Take-away services can continue in line with current guidance.

This is subject to the following exemptions:

  • licensed cafes can also continue to provide a food and non-alcohol beverage service during these times to help alleviate the risk of social isolation.  A café is defined as an establishment whose primary business activity, in the ordinary course of business, is the sale of non-alcoholic drinks, snacks or light meals, which may be consumed on the premises. 
  • licensed canteens and premises on a ferry and airside at an airport are also excluded from closure as above.
  • hotels can continue to serve residents indoors, including breakfast and lunch and evening meals between the hours of 06:00 and 22:00 but cannot serve alcohol. The sale of alcohol by room service is permitted.
  • wedding receptions, civil partnership receptions and funerals wakes may continue (with alcohol) as per current meeting rules for such events (eg guidance on 20 person limit in regulated premises)
  • licensed student accommodation can still provide meals (but not alcohol) to those that live in this accommodation
  • non-alcoholic drinks and food can also be sold or served in a cinema for consumption in an auditorium.

Business that remain open must not sell or permit the consumption of alcohol on their premises.

Customers should continue to follow existing consumer guidance for the tourism and hospitality sectors.

Sport and leisure

No group exercise classes for indoor gyms/sports courts, pools etc can be held, with the exemption where this is specifically for under 18s. 

Organised outdoor contact sport for those aged 18 and over is not permitted (excluding those playing professional sport as defined by the relevant governing bodies). 

Coaches can still work with up to 30 people outdoors (in line with current guidance), with physical distancing and ensuring the appropriate sportscotland guidance is followed.

Indoor sport and leisure facilities remain open. All ages are permitted to use gym facilities and swimming pools, provided they abide by physical distancing requirements and following rules on mixing with other households. 

Children and young people aged under 18 are exempt from the additional restrictions around sport and physical activity. They are still permitted to take part in organised contact sport outdoors and group classes indoors. Group classes indoors are restricted to those aged 17 and under. Those aged under 12 are still permitted to take part in organised indoor contact sport. 

Providers should continue to ensure they operate as per the relevant guidance, such as the Scottish Government guidance on indoor and outdoor sport and leisure facilities and sportscotland’s latest guidance on sport and physical activity.

All snooker/pool halls, indoor bowling facilities, casinos and bingo halls must remain closed during this time.  Cinemas and libraries are not affected.

Outdoor live events

Outdoor live events will not be permitted. The Scottish Government’s Events Sector Guidance has been updated to reflect this. Drive-in events may continue to take place.

Peaceful demonstrations which do not constitute a social gathering may still take place.

Work and education

Working from home is expected of all those that can.  This remains the position nationally, but is especially important within these areas in order to minimise the risk.

Schools will continue to remain open, as are colleges and universities, subject to existing national restrictions.

Seeing friends and family

You should continue to follow the same rules as the rest of Scotland on meeting others. The only difference is if you are visiting a hospital or care home.

People who are part of an extended household can visit each other in their homes, regardless of where they live.

If you do not live in the central belt but are part of an extended household with people who do, you can continue to follow the national guidance.

Everyone in an extended household must self-isolate if advised to do so.

The following guidance on care home and hospital visits only applies to Glasgow, West and East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire, North and South Lanarkshire

Guidance on care home visits

Care home visits are restricted to outdoors only, with a maximum of 3 people from no more than 2 households.

Essential indoors visits can continue for end of life situations or exceptional circumstances including those who are experiencing stress and distress.

Guidance on hospital visits

Only essential visits can be made, including:

  • a birth partner supporting a woman during hospital visits
  • for a person receiving end-of-life care
  • to support someone with a mental health issues such as dementia
  • to accompany a child in hospital 

The following national change to shopping will take effect from Saturday 10 October:

Shops and other retail businesses should revert back to 2m distancing guidance.

The following remain unchanged within these new local measures:

Child care

informal childcare arrangements can continue, however extra care should be taken with childcare arrangements which involves someone from another household entering your home, or your child entering another home.

Shared parenting

Children whose parents do not live in the same household, can continue to move between households to maintain existing relationships with their parents, provided it is safe to do so. A parent includes a person who is not a parent of the child but who has parental responsibilities for or care of the child. This does not mean that a child has to move between parents.


We continue to urge all employers to support staff to work from home wherever possible.

We understand the impact these measures will have on individuals and businesses. We would emphasise that where a business has brought staff off furlough, those staff can be re-furloughed, as part of the Jobs Retention Scheme.

Workers can continue to go into other households to carry out work such as repairs, installations and deliveries. Such visits should be subject to a risk assessment as well as  ensuring that social distancing and correct wearing of masks.

Professionals who offer services from their own home can continue to carry out their work with appropriate safety measures in place. Any visits should be risk-assessed and in line with the relevant sector guidance.

Car sharing

Current guidance is clear that no car sharing should take place to and from work with any other household. You should only travel with members of your own, or extended, household. We recognise that there may be occasions when there is no alternative but to travel with people out with your household. On such occasions, you should:

  • share the transport with the same people each time
  • keep to small groups of people at any one time
  • maintain good ventilation by keeping the car windows open if possible
  • ask everyone to wear face-coverings
  • clean your hands before and after your journey
  • if the vehicle is your responsibility, clean the door handles and other areas that people touch.

See: information on safe travel.

Support services

Any advice or rules on staying safe do not prevent anyone from acting to keep themselves safe from domestic abuse, including leaving home. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse call Scotland’s Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 027 1234 or go to

Regulated providers of health and social care can still provide support to those who need it. 

People who are providing care or essential support such as delivering shopping or family support can continue to make visits, but should pay attention to all hygiene precautions.

Support for business

An additional fund of up to £40m will be made available for business support, primarily to some sectors that are required to close by law.  See for further information


First published: 9 Oct 2020 Last updated: 22 Oct 2020 -