Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer businesses and workplaces

Guidance for businesses and workplaces - including laboratories and research facilities - on reducing the risk of COVID-19 and supporting staff and customers.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer businesses and workplaces
Precautionary measures

Precautionary measures

Some precautionary measures remain in place. These are steps intended to reduce the spread of the virus and help us maintain the good progress we have already made as we move forward to greater normality.

Although some precautionary measures will remain as mandatory legal requirements to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, others will be advisory. The precautionary measures are:

Mandatory precautionary measures:

Precautionary  measure How to protect yourself and others
Wear a face covering Face coverings are mandatory in most indoor public places, indoor communal spaces including retail, restaurants, cafes, bars and public houses, and in workplaces and on public transport, unless you are exempt for specific circumstances. See a full list of the areas you must wear a face covering
Self-isolate when immediately if you get symptoms

Everyone must continue to follow Test and Protect rules and guidance which means you should  stay at home if you have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, even if you have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination. A failure to isolate could amount to a criminal offence.

An exemption to the self-isolation rules has been introduced for close contacts who have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination, or are under 18 provided they meet further criteria (further information about eligibility is available).

People who are not fully vaccinated or who test positive for COVID-19 still need to self-isolate for ten days.

Advisory precautionary measures:

Precautionary  Measure

How to protect yourself and others

Get vaccinated when offered

Support staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine once it’s offered to them and encourage appointment uptake.

Good hand and respiratory hygiene and surface cleaning

Good hygiene measures are key workplace-specific measures to create a safe working environment. These include, for example:

  • providing access to sanitiser and hand-washing facilities
  • regular cleaning of work equipment, chairs and work stations
  • regular cleaning and sanitising of break out areas
  • if sneezing  or coughing  around other people, do so into a tissue, handkerchief or your elbow

Continued promotion of good ventilation


By taking measures to increase the volume of outside air entering a building, such as opening windows, doors or vents, you can help minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19 to colleagues and customers. Reducing the number of workers in a work area at the same time is also an important way to minimise risk.

A range of guidance has been developed to help businesses, employers and employees understand what good ventilation is which includes Scottish Government ventilation guidance and the Health and Safety Executive guidance on ventilation and air conditioning during COVID-19.

Working from home and hybrid working

A gradual return to offices can begin in line with staff wellbeing discussions and business need, however home working continues to be an important mitigation for controlling the virus.

For now, we ask that businesses still support employees to do this, where possible and in consultation with employees. We encourage employers to consider, for the longer term, a hybrid model of home and office working - which may, of course, have benefits beyond the need to control a virus.

Sector specific measures



Hospitality (including nightclubs and adult entertainment)

  • mandatory local licensing laws will apply
  • mandatory collection of contact details remains in place
  • strongly encourage the use of table service where possible, alternatively a takeaway service may be provided, though bar service is now permitted in law

Cultural venues, stadia and live events


  • while we expect the return of large scale events we will, for a limited period, keep in place the processes through which organisers will have to apply for permission if they wish to exceed the current limits on maximum capacity. This will allow us and local authorities to be assured of the arrangements in place to reduce risk
  • outdoor events must be limited to 5000 attendees but exemptions may be sought through the existing local authority exemption process
  • indoor events will be limited to 2000 attendees but similarly may follow the existing exemptions process for higher numbers

Guidance is available for event planners:

Where industry guidance has been produced, businesses should read it in conjunction with Scottish Government guidance.

Weddings, funerals, civil partnerships and other milestone events

There are no restrictions remaining on how many people may attend significant life or milestone events beyond the requirement to comply with all other precautionary measures



Within the regulations there are still mandatory requirements - specifically around face coverings in indoor areas, subject to exemptions, Test and Protect collection of details in some settings and the temporary limits that have been set on indoor and outdoor events. Regulators and police will continue their current enforcement role for these requirements under the regulations following the 4 e’s approach, engage, explain, encourage and as a last resort enforce.



First published: 6 Aug 2021 Last updated: 14 Sep 2021 -