Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Christmas and the festive period

Published: 22 Dec 2020
Last updated: 26 Dec 2020 - see all updates

Guidance covering Christmas and New Year.

22 Dec 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Christmas and the festive period

Hogmanay and New Year

Christmas bubbles applied on Christmas day only.  They will not apply at Hogmanay and New Year. All of mainland Scotland will be in Level 4 over Hogmanay and New Year with Orkney, Shetland, Na h-Eileanan Siar and the more remote islands in Argyll and Bute and Highland in Level 3. You should follow the rules on meeting up and travelling for your level.  For further information on childcare see the below section: Visiting care homes and hospitals, caring for others and childcare.

Looking after yourself:  These are worrying and uncertain times. The coronavirus outbreak has changed the festive period for many people in Scotland and has had a real impact on how many of us are feeling.

Whether you have been directly affected by the virus, or are struggling to cope with the restrictions, it is important to look after both your physical and mental health. Visit for practical advice on how to look after your mental wellbeing, and sources of support if you need to talk to someone.  



Travelling in Scotland

As part of the Level 4 and 3 restrictions you are legally required to remain within your local authority area, except for essential purposes such as caring responsibilities.

See: travel rules for local authority areas in Scotland.

Travel abroad

All non-essential travel into and out of Scotland is prohibited  See: travel guidance.

Visiting care homes and hospitals, caring for others and childcare


Care home, hospice and hospital visits

Read: guidance for care homes on Christmas and New Year

Caring for others

You can still enter another household to provide care and support for a vulnerable person.

However, to protect yourself and the person you are providing care and support to, you should strictly follow the handwashing, surface cleaning and respiratory hygiene guidance on the NHS Inform website.


From Boxing Day/26 December, Level 4 guidance on informal childcare applies in most of Scotland. 

Only children of key workers and vulnerable children will be able to attend nurseries and other types of formal childcare provision from Boxing Day/26th December.  Childminders can remain open to all children. 

More information can be found on the Parent Club website.

Students and shared accommodation


If you are a student who has returned home at the end of the term you will be considered to be part of the household to which you have returned.

All students are being offered testing before returning home. See: guidance for students on returning home for the festive break.

If you do join a bubble separate from people you share accommodation with, you should isolate from your house/flatmates both before and after joining your bubble for a period of 7 days.

If you develop symptoms in this time you and your house/flatmates will be required to self-isolate as advised by Test and Protect.


First published: 22 Dec 2020 Last updated: 26 Dec 2020 -