Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): local protection levels

Published: 25 Nov 2020
Last updated: 25 Nov 2020 - see all updates

Find out the COVID protection level for each local area and get information on what you can and cannot do at each level.

Contents
Coronavirus (COVID-19): local protection levels
Protection Level 4

COVID protection level 4

Enter a postcode to check a local COVID protection level.  View maps of local authority area boundaries.

Meeting others indoors (socialising)

 

You should not meet anyone who is not in your household indoors in your home or in their home. You can meet another household indoors in a public place. The maximum number of people who can meet indoors in a public (not a home) place is 6 which can be from up to 2 separate households. 

Children under the age of 12 from these households do not count towards the total number of people counted in a gathering.

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

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.

You can go into another household to provide care and support for a vulnerable person. Read Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for unpaid carers.

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

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 (socialising)

 

You can meet people from other households outdoors in a private garden or in a public place such as a park. The maximum number of people who can meet outdoors is 6 which can be from up to 2 separate households.

Children under the age of 12 from these households do not count towards the total number of people counted in a gathering. Children under 12 do not need to maintain physical distance from others. This is to allow children under 12 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. Physical distancing is required.

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

  • 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

  • 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

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.

Going into someone else’s home (socialising)

 

If you are meeting people from 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 the following circumstances:

  • People who live alone
    If you are an adult and you live alone, or if all 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'. 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.

  • Couples who do not live together
    Two adults who 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'.

However, 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 for at least a 14-day period. 

All the adults living in both households should agree to form the extended household. We also encourage parents or guardians to involve their children in discussions. Forming an extended household is an important decision that should be properly discussed and agreed beforehand.  Physical distancing between members of an extended household is not required

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.

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.

You can continue to interact with members of your extended household even if they live in a different area with a different Level of protective measures. 

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 at any time between 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. 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-solation guidance

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.

Shared parenting

 

Where parents do not live in the same household, children can move between their parents’ homes in all levels, this includes both supervised and unsupervised visitation.

Read more:

Hospitality

 

Restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars will be closed. Sectors guidance is at: sector guidance for tourism and hospitality

Takeaways can still operate as normal, provided food and drink is sold for consumption off premises. Face coverings and physical distancing rules must be followed.

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

Accommodation

 

All holiday accommodation is closed to tourism.  Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering can remain open for essential customers only:

  • anyone who is using that accommodation for work purposes

  • anyone who requires accommodation to attend a funeral

  • anyone who is providing accommodation or support services to the homeless

  • anyone who uses that accommodation as their main residence

  • anyone who needs accommodation while moving home

  • anyone who is unable to return to their main residence

When providing accommodation to workers, this should only be open for essential workers who require accommodation as part of their role.  Workers accommodation guidance.

Breaching the restrictions in the Regulations is a criminal offence, unless you have a “reasonable excuse” for doing so. This means that accommodation providers may offer accommodation to customers in other circumstances provided it is an essential purpose. An example of this would be where someone needs accommodation for an essential hospital visit.

In line with Competition and Markets Authority guidance, a full refund should be offered to customers who booked holiday homes, but could not stay in them due to lockdown restrictions.  The regulation of consumer protection is the responsibility of the UK Government at Westminster. The Competition and Markets Authority has issued guidance to businesses and consumers about refunds

Travel and transport

 

You must not travel into or out of Level 3 and 4 local authority areas except for essential reasons. See further guidance on travel and transport and view maps of local authority area boundaries.

Shopping

 

Only essential retail will be able to remain open in Level 4 providing they follow and have implemented Scottish Government guidance to ensure the safety of customers and staff. 

A list of essential retail can be found in the question and answer section of the retail sector guidance under the sub heading ‘the shopping experience’.

Read more:

Click and collect, on-line services and outdoor retail, such as garden centres, outdoor markets and car lots, can also remain open.

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 policy

  • you must follow direction signs, one way systems and shop capacities if provided by a retail outlet

  • maintain a 2 metre physical distance between people not in your household (or extended household)

  • if shopping with others you must only do so from a maximum of 6 people from up to 2 different households (or extended households)

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 social distancing in a shop, come back later

  • visit stores that are using infection control measures and use the available hand sanitiser

  • 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 face covering if requested for proof of age

  • shop local and do not travel further than necessary to visit stores

  • be patient – shopping may take longer than you may be used to and you may need to queue for longer as a result.  Please do not smoke when queuing outside shops

  • you should only use public transport for essential shopping where it is not possible in your local council area – you should use on-line shopping or shops, banks and other services in your local area wherever you can

Get help: If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and are self-isolating, or are vulnerable or shielding and you need essential items like food or medicine you should request assistance from friends, family, community support groups, make an online order, or call the National Helpline on 0800 111 4000.

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

 

Tradespeople should only go into a house in a level 4 area to carry out or deliver essential work or services, for example:
 

  • to carry out utility (electricity, gas, water, telephone, broadband) safety checks, repairs, maintenance and installations
  • to carry out repairs and maintenance that would otherwise threaten the household’s health and safety
  • to deliver goods or shopping
  • to deliver, install or repair key household furniture and appliances such as washing machines, fridges and cookers
  • to support a home move, for example furniture removal

Safety when working in someone else’s home

When working in someone’s house tradespeople should stay 2 metres apart from the people who live there, wear a face covering and follow good hand and respiratory hygiene.

Close contact retail services

 

Close contact services and mobile close contact service providers must not operate in Level 4.  Read more: Guidance for close contact services

Close contact services includes:

  • 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

  • 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

Stadia and events

 

Stadia must be closed to spectators.

No live events are permitted

Sports and exercise

 

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

Indoor sports facilities are closed.

Outdoor gyms can remain open.

Outdoor non-contact sports such as golf and fishing are permitted for all age groups.

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.

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 .

Driving lessons

 

Driving lessons, including motorcycle lessons, must not be held unless all occupants of the vehicle or vehicles are from the same household.

Driving instructors must not travel outside their local authority area to provide lessons.

Public buildings

 

All public sector buildings such as libraries will be closed, however, library click and collect services may still operate in Level 4. 

Read more: guidance for public libraries

Community centres can continue to operate for the delivery of essential services only, such as emergency shelter, medical services or meals for the homeless.

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

Visitor attractions

 

All indoor visitor attractions such as museums, galleries, heritage attractions, indoor areas of zoos and aquariums are closed. Outdoor visitor attractions, such as parks, gardens and the outdoor areas of zoos may remain open, to enable exercise and recreation to be undertaken with appropriate physical distancing in place, but should only be visited in line with travel restrictions.

Visitor attraction’s retail and hospitality facilities will be closed.

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.

Specific sector guidance can be found at:

Worship

 

Places of worship are required to take measures to protect individuals, worshippers, staff members and volunteers from infection of COVID-19.  Indoor acts of worship are limited to a maximum of 20 people providing there is sufficient space to maintain safe 2 metre distancing.  Where premises cannot maintain 2 metre distancing the capacity will be reduced. Outdoor worship can still take place providing it takes place within the grounds of a place of worship with a maximum capacity of 20 people and there is sufficient space for 2 metre distancing. The 2 metre distance is not required between members of the same household or extended household, or between a carer and the person assisted by the carer.  

Places of worship are required 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.

Life events (inc. weddings and funerals)

 

Wedding ceremonies and civil partnership registrations can take place with a maximum capacity of 20 people (including the couple, the witnesses and guests) providing the venue’s capacity allows for 2 metre physical distancing. 

Funerals and wakes can take place with a maximum capacity of 20 guests providing the venue’s capacity allows for appropriate physical distancing.

Wedding or civil partnership receptions cannot take place in level 4.

Oher life events, such as Bar Mitzvahs and christenings can still take place as long as they are part of an act of worship and a maximum of 20 capacity is applied.

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

Face coverings must be worn except for the couple getting married or entering a civil partnership and the person leading the ceremony during a wedding ceremony or civil partnership. 

Childcare

 

Formal childcare

Early learning and childcare can remain open. Enhanced and targeted protective measures are in place.

Informal childcare

Only essential informal childcare is permitted in Level 4. ​​​Only children should enter the home of another household. Further information is available on the Parent Club website.

Schools

 

Schools can remain open. Enhanced and targeted protective measures are in place.

Colleges and universities

 

Colleges and universities can operate using a more restricted mix of face to face and distance learning.

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.

Activities that take place take place outdoors are permitted, except for public parades.  

Public services

 

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

Any advice or rules on staying safe do not prevent anyone from acting to keep themselves safe from domestic abuse, including leaving home (see further guidance). If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse call Scotland’s Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 027 1234 or go to www.safer.scot.

Offices, call centres and other workplaces

 

People are advised to work from home wherever that is practicable.

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.

Outdoor workplaces, construction, manufacturing, veterinary services and film and TV production can also remain open. They should plan for the minimum number of people needed on site to operate safely and effectively.

Home visits by contractors should only be for essential services. 

Visiting hospitals

 

Visiting care homes

 
  • indoors: essential visits only.  
  • outdoors: visits to the care home to see loved ones through the window, arranged with care home in advance. And if Director of Public Health judges to be safe, garden visits

Read more: care home visiting guidance

Shielding

 

Contact with others

Minimise contact with people outside your own household if you can.

You should not take public transport.

Shopping

Strictly follow the guidelines when shopping and limit the number of times you go to a shop. Shop at quieter times.

If you cannot work from home

The majority of workplaces can be made safe. If you have any concerns you should discuss these with your employer.

However, at this level the Chief Medical Officer will issue a letter which is similar to a fit note and which will last for as long as your area is under Level 4 restrictions. This letter can be used in the few cases where it is not possible to make your workplace safe.

Please note that this does not automatically mean you should not attend work. You should discuss this further with your employer, and if this results in adequate protection, you can continue to work.

School/ formal childcare

Children on the shielding list should not attend in person.

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, such as peer support groups, therapy groups, day centres, respite care, one to one therapy and counselling, can operate face to face, where they are essential for people’s wellbeing and remote delivery is not possible.

An essential support group is one where participant’s health (including their mental health) and wellbeing would be significantly impacted by non-attendance. If groups must take place in person, relevant guidance must be followed.

See: 

In general, support groups and one-to-one support should be delivered remotely wherever possible.

View a PDF table showing what you can and cannot do at protection level 4.


Contact

Email: Covid19OutbreakManagement@gov.scot

First published: 25 Nov 2020 Last updated: 25 Nov 2020 -