Level 3: what you can do

All of Scotland is currently at Level 3. From 17 May, mainland Scotland and some islands will move to Level 2. Some islands will move to Level 1. Moray is likely to remain at Level 3. Find out more about the changes from 17 May.

At Level 3:

  • you can meet in groups of up to 6 from 2 households in an indoor public place such as a café, pub or restaurant
  • you can meet in groups of up to 6 from 6 households outdoors, in a private garden or a public place like a park or an outdoor area of a café
  • under 12s do not count towards the total number of people or households meeting outside but do count towards the household numbers indoors
  • you can travel anywhere in Scotland and can stay in holiday accommodation - but you should not stay in someone else's house
  • you can travel to England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands - before you travel you must check the travel rules in those countries
  • you should not go into someone’s house except for certain reasons such as joining your extended household or caring for a vulnerable person
  • you can provide informal childcare, for example to look after a grandchild
  • 50 people can attend funerals and weddings
  • tradespeople can carry out any work in your home such as painting, decorating or repairing
  • you should work from home where possible

What can open at Level 3

Places and business that can open at Level 3 include:

  • cafés, pubs and restaurants can provide full outdoor service, subject to local licensing, and serve food indoors without alcohol until 8 pm
  • all shops and stores
  • all close contact services including hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons
  • gyms and swimming pools (no indoor group exercise classes allowed for over 18s)
  • tourist accommodation
  • all visitor attractions
  • all public buildings like libraries and community centres
  • drive-in events

What must close at Level 3

Places and business that must close at Level 3 include:

  • leisure and entertainment venues such as cinemas, theatres, nightclubs and concert halls
  • stadiums

This is not a full list. You can get more information in the sections below.

View an easy read version of our plans for easing coronavirus restrictions (PDF).

Meeting others indoors 

 

At home

You should not meet anyone socially who is not in your household indoors in a private dwelling.

You can go into another person’s home only for certain reasons, such as for essential work, to join your extended household or to provide care and support for a vulnerable person. This can include providing emotional support for someone whose wellbeing is at risk, including for those who are isolated because of disability or a caring responsibility or where they are a parent or carer of a child under one. ​​

Read Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for unpaid carers.

In a public place (such as a bar or café)

You can meet people from one other household at a time socially indoors in a public place such as a café or restaurant. The maximum number of people who can meet indoors in a public place is 6 which can be from up to 2 separate households. 

When you meet people from another household indoors you should:

  • minimise the number of meetings you have with people from other households each day
  • stay at least 2 metres apart from anyone who is not part of your household, unless in a public venue that is operating 1 metre distancing with additional measures being in place to avoid transmission.
  • maintain hand and cough hygiene
  • avoid touching hard surfaces with your hands
  • 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 its own food separately
  • if possible, keep rooms well ventilated – consider opening windows or a door

Children under the age of 12 from these households do not count towards the total number of people permitted to meet. For example a children’s party with 10 children from more than 2 separate households would not be allowable, but 6 adults and 4 children under 12 from 2 households could meet.

Children under 12 do not need to maintain physical distance from others.

Where an individual household includes more than 6 people, they can nevertheless meet as a single household even if the total number of people exceeds 6. In hospitality settings, this is contingent on the premises being able to accommodate the group size within the available facilities.

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

Meeting others outdoors

 

The maximum number of people who can meet socially outdoors in a private garden or in a public place such as a park or an outdoor area of a café is 6, which can be from up to 6 separate households. This applies to anyone aged 12 or over.

Two metre physical distancing should be maintained between members of different households.

Children under the age of 12 do not count towards the total number of people or households in a gathering. Children under 12 do not need to maintain physical distance from others.

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. In hospitality settings, this is contingent on the premises being able to accommodate the group size within the available facilities.

You should:

  • minimise the number of meetings you have with people from other households each day
  • stay at least 2 metres away from anyone who is not part of your household (unless in a public venue that is operating 1 metre distancing with additional measures being in place to avoid transmission)
  • maintain hand and cough hygiene
  • avoid touching hard surfaces with your hands
  • 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

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

Extended households

 

An extended household is a support network that joins two households.

You can form an extended household with another household of any size if you:

  • live by yourself
  • are a single parent where all others in your household are under 18 years old
  • are part of a couple who lives apart – including any children you each live with

Read more about extended households.

Shared parenting

 

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

Read more:

Hospitality

 

Restaurants, cafés, pubs and bars can open indoors for the consumption of food and non-alcoholic drinks until 20:00. 

Restaurants, cafés, pubs and bars can open outdoors for the consumption of food and alcoholic drinks – local licensing conditions apply to operating hours. 

The hospitality sector should follow: sector guidance for tourism and hospitality

The maximum number of people you can meet indoors in a restaurant, café, pub or bar is 6 which can be from up to 2 separate households. 

The maximum number of people you can meet outdoors in a restaurant, café, pub or bar is 6 which can be from up to 6 separate households. 

Children under the age of 12 do not count towards the total number of people who can meet but do count towards the maximum of 2 households permitted to meet. For example a children’s party with 10 children from more than 2 separate households would not be allowable, but 6 adults and 4 children from 2 households could meet.

Where an individual household includes more than 6 people they can continue to meet as a single household in hospitality premises.

Table service and the wearing of face-coverings (unless exempt) when not seated by all customers is mandatory in all hospitality venues. When meeting people from more than one other household, you should think beforehand about what size of table you will need to keep physically distanced between members of your group. The venue you are visiting should be able to advise you of booking options.

You will be asked by the venue to provide your contact details (for each person) for Test and Protect purposes. This information is retained for 21 days with a view to sharing with Test and Protect Teams, if required. 

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. Physical distancing and good hand hygiene remain the most effective measures in reducing the transmission of COVID-19. Therefore, distancing requirements need to be maintained, where reasonably practicable, at all times, including when waiting to enter premises and when seated. 

Takeaways can operate as normal. Face coverings and physical distancing rules must be followed.

Hotels and other accommodation providers can still serve food to guests staying in their premises up to 22:00. Room service, including alcohol, is allowed as normal.

Holiday accommodation

 

All holiday accommodation (hotels, B&Bs, self-catering, caravan and camping sites) can open in line with sector guidance for tourism and hospitality

However, tourists should not travel to places in Level 0, 1, 2 or 4 areas for holidays, leisure trips or visits, except for essential reasons.

You cannot stay in a private home with family and friends outwith your extended household for the purpose of socialising or leisure purposes in a Level 3 area.

In Level 3, no socialising between members of different households is permitted in a private dwelling, so different households must not share holiday accommodation. 

In public spaces within regulated (staffed) accommodation, the rules with regard to socialising in an indoors public place apply. In Level 3, a maximum of 6 people from up to 2 households can socialise indoors in a public place. Children under the age of 12 from these households do not count towards the total number of people permitted to meet. 

Workers' accommodation

 

Travel and transport

 

Travel is permitted within a Level 3 area, which is currently Scotland as a whole. Currently you can only leave or remain away from Scotland for holidays or other non-essential purposes if you are going to England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.

See further guidance on travel and transport and view maps of local authority area boundaries.

Shopping

 

All retailers can open. They should follow and have implemented Scottish Government guidance to ensure the safety of customers and staff. 

Read more:

Whilst retailers will implement procedures to ensure the safety of customers and staff, it is an individual’s responsibility to ensure they comply with the following guidance:

  • do not visit any retail premises if you have tested positive or have developed any of the COVID-19 symptoms
  • you must wear a face covering when you go into any retail premises including any indoor area of a shopping centre, unless exempt. Read the face covering guidance
  • maintain a 2 metre physical distance between other people
  • you must follow direction signs, customer flow systems and shop capacities as indicated by the retailer
  • during this period adults, unless accompanying a vulnerable person or a child or children under 18, should shop alone

In order to keep transmission rates as low as possible, you are also advised to:

  • avoid crowded shops. Try to avoid times when shops will be busy. If you do not think you can maintain physical distancing in a shop, go back later.
  • visit stores that are using infection control measures and use the available hand sanitiser and sanitising stations
  • try to avoid touching goods unless you intend to buy them
  • be polite. Please ensure that you are considerate to retail staff and abide by their guidance and instructions, including removing your face covering if requested for proof of age.

Restrictions on travel for non-permitted activities from Level 3 to lower or higher level areas remain in place. Non-essential shopping is not an exception to this. You must stay within the Level 3 area for non-essential shopping (including Click and Collect) and should only travel out of a Level 3 area for essential shopping if there are no practical alternatives. From 26 April – 17 May Scotland will be a single Level 3 area. Therefore, travel is permitted to all areas in Scotland.  ​​

Close contact retail services

 

Scottish Government guidance to ensure the safety of customers and staff. 

Read more: 

Close contact services include:

  • hairdressing and barbers
  • beauty and nail services (including make-up)
  • hair removal
  • tattoo, piercing and body modification
  • fashion design, dress-fitting and tailoring
  • indoor portrait photography and art services
  • massage therapies
  • complementary and alternative medicine services requiring physical contact or close physical proximity between persons, but not osteopathy and chiropractic services
  • spa and wellness services
  • other services or procedures which require physical contact or close physical proximity between a provider and a customer and are not ancillary to medical, health, or social care services

Whilst close contact retail service providers will implement mandated safety procedures to ensure the safety of customers and staff, it is an individual’s responsibility to ensure they comply with the following guidance:

  • people should not visit any close contact service premises if they have tested positive or have developed any of the COVID-19 symptoms
  • face coverings should be worn at all times by staff and customers, unless they are exempt. Read the face covering guidance. Close contact service providers cannot provide any service within the high-risk zone, such as a facial or beard trim or other procedures which requires a customer to remove their face covering
  • close contact service premises may have a maximum capacity so customers should arrive at the time of their appointment and be prepared to queue outside
  • customers should stay at least 2 metres apart when not undergoing any treatment that makes this requirement impossible

Customers should be asked for contact details for Test and Protect purposes. This information should be collected in a safe and secure manner, which is compliant with data protection legislation and in line with existing guidance.

Stadia and events

 

Stadia must be closed to spectators.

No live events other than drive-in events are permitted.

Sports and exercise

 

You are permitted to meet others outdoors, following the rules around meeting other households (see section above), for informal exercise or sport.

Under 18s

All organised sports and activities are permitted, provided appropriate safety measures are followed.

Sports organisations will need to refer to guidance produced by their Scottish Governing Body of Sport and ensure they operate in line with the guidance.

Read the sport and physical activity guidance.

Adults

Organised outdoor non-contact sports, personal training and coaching are permitted, provided appropriate safety measures are followed. Outdoor contact sports are not permitted, except for professional sport.

Sports organisations will need to refer to guidance produced by their Scottish Governing Body of Sport and sportscotland and ensure they operate in line with the guidance.

Exercise is permitted indoors in gyms and indoor sports facilities, abiding by the rules on meeting other households. No group exercise classes or sports (contact or non-contact) are permitted indoors.

You can meet in groups of up to 6 adults from 6 households for exercise outdoors (under 12s do not count towards the number of people meeting or households), and travel to any other Level 3 area for that purpose.

Driving lessons and tests

 

Driving lessons and tests are permitted. Specific guidance can be found at: Coronavirus (COVID-19): vehicle lessons.

Leisure and entertainment

 

All leisure and entertainment premises must be closed (except for use in limited circumstances).

Film and TV production can continue to take place. All such activity must be done in compliance with industry guidance.

Public buildings

 

Public buildings such as libraries or community centres can open to the public. When visiting you should comply with the physical distancing and hygiene measures in place. Anyone visiting a building will either be required by law to wear a face covering (unless exempt) or be advised to wear one.

Some public buildings will operate an on-line booking system and some may have dedicated opening times for high risk groups. Calculations for physical distancing guidelines apply in all public buildings except for those delivering an essential public service.

Read more: guidance for public libraries

Courts and Tribunals will remain open. Further details are available from the Scottish Courts and Tribunals website.

Visitor attractions

 

All indoor and outdoor visitor attractions such as museums, galleries, educational and heritage attractions, zoos and aquariums can open providing there are physical distancing and hygiene measures in place. When visiting you should comply with the physical distancing and hygiene measures in place. Check in advance for visiting arrangements such as pre-bookable time slots. Face coverings indoors are compulsory for all visitors and staff.

Visitor attractions with retail and hospitality facilities can open in Level 3 in line with retail and hospitality guidance:

Public and customer toilets can be opened as long as it is safe to do so. Where toilets are part of a larger premises e.g. a shop, face coverings must be worn. 

You must not meet socially at a visitor attraction in a group of more than 6 people from 2 separate households indoors or 6 people from 6 separate households outdoors.

Specific sector guidance can be found at:

Places of worship

 

Places of worship are required to take measures to protect individuals, worshippers, staff members and volunteers from infection by COVID-19. 

Those responsible for places of worship must take measures to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, that people are able to maintain a distance of 2 metres at all times from others who are not part of their household, and should limit the numbers attending services accordingly, in line with guidelines on physical distancing capacity

Ceremonies to celebrate life events such as bar mitzvahs, baptisms, First Communions and christenings can take place as part of a scheduled act of worship. Separate guidance applies to funerals and marriage ceremonies (see Life Events guidance).

Places of worship are asked to maintain a temporary register of worshipper and staff/volunteer contact details for a period of 21 days for Test and Protect. This is to support contact tracing as part of NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect system, in the event of an outbreak linked to a particular venue.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for the safe use of places of worship

Weddings and funerals

 

Wedding ceremonies and civil partnership registrations can take place with a maximum capacity of 50 people (including the couple and the witnesses), provided the venue’s capacity allows for 2 metre physical distancing.

Funerals can take place with a maximum capacity of 50, provided the venue’s capacity allows for 2 metre physical distancing.

Receptions and post-funeral gatherings, such as wakes, can also take place with a maximum capacity of 50 people. Alcohol may be served.

You must maintain a safe distance of 2 metres between people not in your household or extended household.

Face coverings must be worn indoors. Where physical distancing or a partition is in place, there is an exception for the couple getting married or entering a civil partnership and the person leading the ceremony during a wedding ceremony or civil partnership. Face coverings do not need to be worn by the person leading a funeral service or by the person providing the eulogy.

Childcare

 

Formal childcare

Nurseries, childminders and regulated school age childcare providers are open. Standard protective measures are in place.

Informal childcare

Informal childcare (family and friends) is permitted. You should follow the rules for socialising. Further information is available on the Parent Club website.

Schools

 

Schools can remain open.

Read more:

Colleges and universities

 

From 26 April, both colleges and universities are operating ‘Restricted Blended Learning’ in Levels 4 and 3. Further information on what this will involve can be found at guidance for higher and further education institutions and student accommodation providers.​​​​

Children's organised activities

 

Sports and exercise

For under 18s all organised sports and activities are permitted, provided appropriate safety measures are followed.

Sports organisations will need to refer to guidance produced by their Scottish Governing Body of Sport and ensure they operate in line with the guidance.

Read the sport and physical activity guidance.

Unregulated children’s activities

Unregulated activities and services for children and young people include groups such as Brownies or faith-based classes for children, and activities for parents and children such as baby and toddler groups.

Some activities are permitted:

Unregulated activities for parents and children under 5 such as baby and toddler groups that are permitted. It is advised that these activities are limited to a maximum of 10 adults indoors and 15 adults outdoors and unlimited under 5s.

See: children and young people gathering restrictions and activities (PDF)

Public services

 

Public services will be delivered online where possible. Face-to-face services can continue where this is essential.

Visiting hospitals

 

There are some restrictions on visiting people in hospital. However, it is recommended that family support from at least 1 visitor is permitted per patient. Additional visitors above the minimum are at the discretion of individual hospital management.

In addition, you can still visit someone in hospital or accompany someone to appointments if you’re:

  • a birth partner supporting a woman during hospital visits
  • visiting someone receiving end-of-life care
  • supporting someone with a mental health issue, or dementia, or a learning disability or autism, where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed
  • accompanying a child

You may be able to be visit for other reasons if you and hospital staff feel it is essential.

You should make any arrangements by contacting clinical staff before visiting.

Visiting care homes

 

Care home residents are recommended to:

  • receive a minimum of two indoors visits a week, one person at a time
  • essential visits should be supported at all times.
  • garden or window visits are also allowed. 

Additional visits above the minimum are at the discretion of individual care homes.

Visits additional to the above are at the discretion of individual care homes, based on local circumstances and Open with Care principles.

For more information:

Shielding

 

Domestic abuse support

 

Coronavirus rules and guidance do not prevent anyone from leaving their home to escape domestic abuse or taking other measures to keep themselves safe from domestic abuse.

If you, or someone you know, is experiencing domestic abuse help is available.

Call Scotland’s Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 027 1234 or visit Safer.Scot.

Domestic abuse is a crime. Call 101 to report it or 999 in an emergency.

Support services

 

Support services

Support services can continue to operate in line with guidance. Examples of support services include peer support groups, talking therapy groups, one to one talking therapy, counselling and child contact services. Support services do not include close contact retail services, such as massage, which are covered by separate guidance on this page.

Building based day services and residential respite/ short break services

Social care building-based day centres and residential respite services can operate in line with the relevant guidance, following all necessary risk assessments and safety requirements.

Relevant public health advice should be followed, which may mean that support could look different and services may be unable to operate at full capacity. Services operating at reduced capacity should prioritise supported people and their unpaid carers who are most in need.

 

Remember that some people may find physical distancing rules harder to follow than others, for example those with sight loss, autism, learning disabilities and dementia or other communication or mobility needs.

You can help by being considerate and by:

  • keeping your distance – for example, if you see someone with a guide dog, long cane or with mobility difficulties, you can help them by making sure you keep 2 metres away 
  • being friendly and offering help – for example, by letting someone with sight loss know where a shopping queue starts or if there is a safer place to cross a road

Going to work/working from home

 

People are advised to work from home wherever that is practicable. By law, employers must take all reasonable steps to minimise the risk of the incidence and spread of coronavirus. Supporting employees to work from home where possible is an important part of that.

Read further information: coronavirus; working from home guidance

Please see furlough guidanceCoronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Businesses which provide essential services can continue to operate, such as those in the Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) sector, courts and tribunals. There are 13 designated CNI sectors including agriculture and food production, activity to maintain the food supply chain, energy and transport.

Not all CNI activity will be essential. Those operations which can be done effectively through home working should be adopted.

Tradespeople, home repairs, and working in someone else’s home

 

Read further information and guidance on working in other people’s homes

Tradespeople can work in other people’s homes providing they follow guidance on working safely. This includes all in-home workers such as utility engineers, domestic cleaners, furniture delivery and installations.

Mobile close contact services such as hairdressers or beauticians must follow separate guidance for mobile close contact services.

Tradespeople who deliver goods or services to homes and businesses can travel between all levels for work purposes.

Moving house, letting property, and second homes

 

It is currently permitted to conduct activities in connection with the essential maintenance, purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property that you own or are responsible for. All home moves are permitted, provided they can be carried out safely. Please see our home moves guidance for more information about moving home, including buying and renting in the private or social sector.

Second homes

Currently you may travel to your second home in Scotland or within the Common Travel Area excluding the Republic of Ireland (including to a second home let as self-catering accommodation) and stay there with members of your household (or extended household). You must follow Level 3 in-house socialising rules whilst in Scotland. Read further guidance: second homes guidance.

Residential tenancies – evictions

In Level 3 or 4 areas enforcement of residential eviction orders in the private or social rented sectors, cannot take place unless the eviction is in relation to antisocial or criminal behaviour.

 


Contact

Email: Covid19OutbreakManagement@gov.scot

First published: 11 May 2021 Last updated: 11 May 2021 -