Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for retail, tourism and hospitality customers

Guidance for customers on how the retail experience in shops, tourism and hospitality businesses is changing due to coronavirus.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for retail, tourism and hospitality customers
Tourism and hospitality

Tourism and hospitality

Many parts of the tourism and hospitality sector will begin to reopen from 26 April 2021 . Familiarise yourself with the changes and continue to follow the guidance to keep yourself and others safe.

Businesses within the tourism and hospitality sector, following government guidance, are working to ensure the safety of customers and colleagues. This good work is supported with relevant guidelines from trade bodies and wider industry, but the successful return to and ongoing operation of business will be equally reliant on positive customer behaviours - you are the first line of defence against coronavirus. 

The guidance below is intended to be used by customers/visitors and can also help to inform the signage used in tourism and hospitality businesses.

Customers should:

  • observe socialising rules for the relevant level the country or the local area may be in
  • wear a face covering apart from when seated (including when entering, exiting and moving around hospitality)
  • always observe physical distancing, keeping either 2 metres, or in hospitality premises operating within the exemption, 1 metre from the next person, unless from the same household or a carer
  • do not form and avoid crowds – this presents a significant risk and must be avoided at all times
  • always follow Scottish Government advice on travelling and visiting services provided by the tourism and hospitality sector – see Transport Scotland for current transport advice. 
  • refrain from travel or visiting tourism and hospitality services if you have symptoms of illness or others in your household are unwell or symptomatic – please check with NHS Inform for further advice
  • pay attention to and follow all instructions and advice that is provided by businesses and their staff – this is for your safety and that of other customers and staff
  • ​​​​​provide your contact details when using hospitality services to support Scotlands Test and Protect service it is  a mandatory requirement for hospitality businesses to collect visitor contact details and provide them to Test and Protect when asked; the guidance supporting this has been strengthened and (from 26 April 2021) every member of a household attending a premises should provide their contact details when asked to do so
  • in particular, when considering meeting people from another household, you should think beforehand about what size of table you will need to keep physically distance between households. The venue you are visiting will be able to advise you of booking options
  • stay in your own household group if you have not arranged to meet another household, observing physical distancing guidelines at all times
  • remain seated as much as possible during your visit to a hospitality premises and do not congregate, for example to watch a TV
  • avoid raised voices and no singing
  • keep your hands clean - use the hand hygiene products that are provided for your use, or use your own, before or after you touch any common areas – businesses will also be doing this but regular hand hygiene is good practice and reduces the risk of transmission
  • catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue and dispose of any tissues into a bin and wash hands immediately
  • if an individual does not have tissues to hand, they should catch coughs and sneezes in the crook of their elbow
  • go prepared – take with you what you need and check the weather forecast
  • be considerate to staff that are providing guidance and advice, and abide by their instructions at all times.  Please be courteous and understand that staff are working in challenging circumstances
  • wear a face covering in the queue and inside premises, except when eating and drinking, see advice on wearing face coverings.
  • bear in mind that some people may find these measures more difficult to adhere to than others e.g. those with sight loss, autism, learning disabilities, asthma or other breathing difficulties, dementia, or other communication or mobility needs. Please be considerate of them, respecting and accommodating differences by giving way when you are out and about.
  • be prepared to show ID for age-restricted purchases and possible removal of face coverings if requested. Staff are facing increased pressure at this time regarding age-verification, with face-coverings recommended for use.
  • abusive behaviour will not to be tolerated and at its worst it could constitute criminality

1m zone in hospitality

If you are using hospitality services, such as pubs, restaurants and cafes, they may be operating within the 1m physical distancing exemption. 

This will be made clear through signage as you enter. Maintaining 2m physical distancing will always be more effective than 1m and customers should adhere to the 2m physical distancing if required to queue to enter a premises – there should be no queuing indoors. 

Additional mitigating measures will be in place to reduce the risks of operating at 1m as opposed to 2m. You must follow the guidance and instructions of staff at all times and be mindful to maintain your own distance of 1m from others out-with your own household or a carer, this includes while sitting and eating/drinking at the table. This is to keep you and others safe and persistent non-compliance by the public may lead to the premises having to close.

We are clear that it will take businesses, employees and customers to each play their own part in making responsible choices to allow us to make progress in reopening the tourism and hospitality sector safely. At all times always put safety first.  Going to a hospitality premises including a pub should not feel the same as it used to for the time being until we can fully exit all mitigating measures

We all have a duty of care to each other and to the businesses we all enjoy and that others rely on for the livelihoods.  The sector is open to as safe an extent is as possible at this time – help keep it safe by doing your bit to keep coronavirus under control.

First published: 9 Oct 2020 Last updated: 20 May 2021 -