Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Phase 3: staying safe and protecting others

Rules on staying safe and protecting others to help suppress coronavirus (COVID-19).

Contents
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Phase 3: staying safe and protecting others
Seeing friends and family

Seeing friends and family

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.

Meeting others socially indoors at home

You should not meet anyone from outside your household socially indoors in your home or their home. This applies to all age groups.

If you have formed an extended household, you can continue to meet at home with all members of your extended household.

There are some limited exceptions to this rule. Other types of gathering, e.g. for organised activity, work, or childcare, are subject to different rules. Read an explanation of these. Informal childcare in the home can continue. So, for example, grandparents can continue to look after children

Children who spend time living with each parent can continue to do so.

Tradespeople can still visit homes to undertake work. Other activities which are not social gatherings, such as visits to other households for the purpose of providing care, can also still continue.

Where an individual household includes more than 6 people, they can continue to meet as a household even if the total number of people exceeds 6.

See tourism guidance for information on using holiday accommodation in Scotland.

Meeting others socially indoors in public places such as cafés, bars or restaurants

See eating and drinking out for details on which restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes can open outwith the Central Belt, and for details on how the rules are different in the Central Belt.

You may meet people socially from 1 other household at a time indoors up to a maximum of 6 people, in a public place such as bar, café or restaurant. You should stay at least 2 metres apart from people from other households at all times, unless the venue is operating 1 metre distancing due to additional measures being in place to avoid transmission.

No more than 6 people in total (from a maximum of 2 households) may meet at any time in such settings, except as explained below.

Children under 12 from the 2 households do not count towards the total number of people at the gathering.

Where an individual household includes more than 6 people, they can continue to meet as a household even if the total number of people exceeds 6.

See the guidance on meeting others in a pub, restaurant, café or other indoor hospitality venue.

You should minimise the number of meetings you have with people from other households each day. 

Meeting others socially outdoors

You may meet people socially outdoors from 1 other household at a time, up to a maximum of 6 people. You should stay at least 2 metres apart from people from other households at all times.

This advice applies, for example, if meeting others in a private garden, in a park, or in an outdoor area of a pub. See the guidance on meeting others in a pub, restaurant, café or other indoor hospitality venue.

Children under 12 are exempt from these restrictions. They are not counted towards the household limit or maximum number of people. Children under 12 do not need to maintain physical distance from others in public places, such as parks, or in private gardens so children under 12 can continue to play with their friends outside.

Young people aged between 12 and 17 can meet up in groups of up to 6 at a time outdoors and are not subject to the 2 household limit. 

Where an individual household includes more than 6 people, they can continue to meet outside as a household even if the total number of people exceeds 6.

You should minimise the number of meetings you have with people from other households each day. You should:

  • stay at least 2 metres away from anyone who is not part of your household
  • maintain hand and cough hygiene
  • avoid touching hard surfaces with your hands
  • follow advice on the NHS Inform website about physical distancing and hygiene
  • wash your hands when you arrive, when you leave, when you get home and especially before eating or after touching surfaces
  • not share food or utensils – if eating, each household should bring, prepare and eat their own food separately
  • if possible, keep rooms well ventilated – consider opening windows or a door

Those at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus (including those who had been shielding, people over 70, people who are pregnant and people with an underlying medical condition) should strictly follow the physical distancing guidance.

People in the groups at highest risk from the virus were advised in March to “shield” themselves by minimising all interaction between them and others. In the light of the reduced prevalence of the virus that recommendation has been paused from 1 August. We will continue to monitor the evidence, and if the risks increase – whether nationally or locally – we will take the steps necessary in order to keep people as safe as possible. In particular we will contact people who were formerly shielding  and we will give them clear advice on what to do if we are asking them to do anything different. We will continue to update our shielding guidance.

Going into someone else’s home

If you are meeting another household in their garden, you should only go into their house to:

  • access the garden – do so quickly and without touching anything
  • use the toilet – avoid touching surfaces with your hands as much as possible, wipe any surfaces that you do touch with antibacterial wipes, wash your hands thoroughly, dry your hands with a freshly laundered towel or a paper towel  which you should dispose of in a closed bin.

If members of another household are going to visit you and might need to use your toilet, you should ensure appropriate cleaning materials are available. You should also provide either a hand towel for each visiting household or paper towels and a safe disposal option.

Extended households

People who live in different places can form an “extended household” in some circumstances.

People who live alone

If you are an adult and you live alone, or if all the others in your household are under 18, you, any children who live with you, and the members of one other household (of any size) can agree to form an 'extended household'. 

Everyone in the extended household will be able to act, and will be treated, as if they live in one household - meaning they can spend time together inside each other’s homes and do not need to stay at least 2 metres apart.

This will allow people who live alone (or those living only with children under the age of 18) to be considered part of another household in order to reduce loneliness, isolation and to provide mutual social support.

However, we know that if one member of a household gets coronavirus, there is a strong likelihood that other members of that household will also catch it. For this reason, there are some important rules which extended households should follow to remain as safe as possible:

  • one of the households should be a person who lives alone (or who lives only with children under 18 years old)
  • a household must not form an extended household with more than one other household
  • households can end the arrangement at any time, but should not then form an extended household with a new household
  • this means that all the adults living in both households should agree to form the extended household. We would also encourage parents or guardians to discuss this with any children in their household. This is an important decision that should be properly discussed and agreed beforehand

If someone in the extended household develops COVID-19 symptoms, to avoid spreading the virus all members of the extended household must isolate immediately if they met the symptomatic person 2 days before and up to 10 days after their symptoms started.

If the symptomatic person tests positive, to avoid spreading the virus all members of their direct household must isolate for 14 days from the start of symptoms. Similarly, other members of the extended household must isolate for 14 days from when the most recent contact took place. Isolate means staying in your own home for the full 14 days.

Read more: Test and Protect: self isolation guidance

Those who have been advised to shield and those at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus (including people over 70, people who are pregnant and people with an underlying medical condition) may  take part in an extended household arrangement, but should strictly follow the handwashing, surface cleaning and respiratory hygiene guidance on the NHS Inform website.

Once two households have agreed to form an extended household they may meet outdoors or indoors, visit and stay at each other’s homes, and do everything that people in other households can do, such as watch TV, share a meal and look after each other’s children.

Physical distancing between members of an extended household is not required, but you should continue to follow advice on the NHS Inform website about handwashing, surface cleaning and respiratory hygiene. For example you should wash your hands frequently with soap and water, and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

Members of an extended household are considered to be one household for the  legal requirements on meeting other households and going outside, and for the guidance in this document about seeing friends and family and about exercise and leisure activity.

Couples who do not live together

If two adults are in a relationship and they do not live together they, and any children they each live with, can agree to form an 'extended household'. 

Everyone in the extended household will be able to act, and will be treated, as if they live in one household - meaning they can spend time together inside each other’s homes and not need to stay at least 2 metres apart.

However, we know that if one member of a household gets coronavirus, there is a strong likelihood that other members of that household will also catch it. For this reason, there are some important rules that extended households should follow to remain as safe as possible:

  • a household must not form an extended household with more than one other household
  • households can end the arrangement at any time, but should not then form an extended household with a new household

We would also encourage parents or guardians to discuss extended household arrangements with any children in their household. This is an important decision that should be properly discussed and agreed beforehand

If someone in the extended household develops COVID-19 symptoms, all members of the extended household must isolate immediately if they met the symptomatic person 2 days before and up to 10 days after their symptoms started.

If the symptomatic person tests positive, all members of their direct household must isolate for 14 days from the start of symptoms. And other members of the extended household must isolate for 14 days from when the most recent contact took place. Isolate means staying in your own home for the full 14 days.

Members of an extended household are considered to be one household for the  legal requirements on meeting other households and going outside, and for the guidance in this document about seeing friends and family and about exercise and leisure activity.

Shielding has been paused from 1 Aug. We will continue to monitor the evidence for this, and if things take a significant turn for the worse – whether nationally or locally – we will take the steps we need to in order to keep you as safe as possible. In particular we will contact you and we will give you clear advice on what to do if we are asking you to do anything different. We will continue to update our shielding guidance.

Read more: Test and Protect: self isolation guidance

Shared parenting

Where parents do not live in the same household, children can be moved between their parents’ homes. 

 Read more: 


Contact

Email: covidexitstrategy@gov.scot

First published: 19 Oct 2020 Last updated: 22 Oct 2020 -