Where we are now
On 23 March 2020, the First Minister announced Scotland would enter into a lockdown. Under law, the restrictions must be reviewed at least every three weeks.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): framework for decision making – Scotland’s route map through and out of the crisis was published on 21 May 2020. It set out a phased approach to easing the lockdown and our movement through each phase of the lockdown
Scotland’s Strategic Framework
Inevitably, opening parts of our economy and society has provided new opportunities for the virus to spread and Scotland’s Strategic Framework was published on 23 October 2020 and updated on 23 February 2021, setting out how we will work to suppress the virus to the lowest possible level and keep it there, while we strive to return to a more normal life for as many people as possible and tackle the four harms we know the virus causes.
This framework sets out the approach to outbreak management, and what rules you have to follow in each level, based on five levels of protection consisting of four levels above the Route Map Phase 3 baseline (or 'Level 0'). What you can and cannot do in each level will be updated in the Coronavirus (COVID-19): local protection levels.
Museums, galleries and heritage attractions are required close in level 4 but are allowed to be open in levels 0 – 2 and open with protective measures in level 3, if they can comply with the requirements specified in this guidance and in their risk assessments. Particular care should be taken around aspects including, but not limited to, timed entry, visitor flow, 2 metre distancing and ventilation.
Refreshed risk assessments should be carried out at any change in level, with particular focus on demonstrating that organisations have sufficient provision of dedicated visitor facing staff to be able to control and manage visitor flow and facilitate the circulation of visitors round a permitted route.
Organisations should be aware that at level 3 transmission risks will be higher and organisations will need to maintain additional vigilance.
Organisations should ensure they are aware of the protection level for the local authority area in which they are based.
As we progress through the route map, Scotland's economic recovery and future prosperity is dependent on safe workplaces. Organisations should use this guidance to engage with trade union or workforce representatives to develop workplace specific plans to manage the move away from current restrictions.
Details on which sectors and workplaces can prepare to, or are able to return to work are available at:
Check latest information on travel, including travel between levels and local authority areas, and consider the impact this could have for your event. Information on the legal restrictions on travel is available at travel guidance.
By law you must not travel out of or into a Level 4 local authority area unless you have a reasonable excuse (see exceptions).
Physical distancing duties are set out in the Coronavirus (COVID-19): Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 (the 2020 Regulations). 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 two 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 two 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)
In hospitality areas within museums, galleries and heritage attractions, such as bars and cafes, there is a 1 metre physical distancing exemption, subject to implementing appropriate additional mitigating measures. Further information is found in the hospitality sector statutory guidance.
Collecting visitor contact details
There is guidance available on the collection of customer and visitor contact details. The guidance strongly recommends that settings collect the details of all visitors to premises and not just the lead adult of a household. Collecting contact details at museums, galleries and heritage attractions is voluntary, but it is important that both premises and individuals cooperate, as it is crucial to national efforts to suppress the virus. For hospitality settings, including cafes, bars and restaurants in museums, galleries and heritage attractions, it is a mandatory requirement to collect minimal contact details from customers to support NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect service, and share these details with public health officers for the purposes of contact tracing when requested.
Check In Scotland App
In December 2020, we launched the free Check In Scotland app. Visitors to venues are able to download the app from Google Play and the Apple App Store. Both the Check In Scotland online form and the app have been carefully designed to give visitors a choice in the way they submit contact details, and data is kept securely, in line with the requirements set out within this guidance. As well as providing choice, the app service also allows for offline use if visitors cannot connect to the internet. Each individual visitor to a premises should submit their contact details. We would strongly encourage settings to consider implementing the Check In Scotland digital solution to enable straightforward compliance with the measures required.
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, and was updated on 20 April 2021. 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 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.
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
- Returning to work safely which has details of current sectoral guidance and further sources of advice for organisations and workers
- Healthy Working Lives website which provides examples of risk assessment templates and other practical tools for organisations and workers
- Health and Safety Executive (HSE) COVID-19 guidance as this will be referred to by HSE inspectors to assess compliance
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.