Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): retail sector guidance

Guidance for the retail sector, including procedures for staff and customer safety and an operations checklist.

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4 page DOCX

228.3 kB

Coronavirus (COVID-19): retail sector guidance
Where we are now

4 page DOCX

228.3 kB

Where we are now

Scotland follows a COVID-19 levels system. There are 5 levels (0-4) and each has a different set of rules.

Find out the level and rules for an area using the postcode checker. 

Get more information on the current COVID position.

Levels system impact on retail

Levels 0-3

Within Levels 0 - 3, all retail is permitted to open. The most recent Levels table can be found on our website.

Level 4/Lockdown

A full list of businesses that can remain open during Level 4 is in the Health Protection (Coronavirus)(Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Level) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, as amended

The businesses which must close at Level 4 are set out in law. Those that can remain open are:  

  • food retailers, including food markets, supermarkets, convenience stores and corner shops
  • off-licences and licensed shops selling alcohol (including breweries)
  • pharmacies (including non-dispensing pharmacies) and chemists
  • newsagents
  • petrol stations
  • car repair and MOT services
  • bicycle shops
  • taxi or vehicle hire businesses
  • banks, building societies, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs, cash points and undertakings which by way of business operate a currency exchange office, transmit money (or any representation of money) by any means or cash cheques which are made payable to customers
  • post offices
  • funeral directors
  • laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • dental services, opticians, audiology services, chiropody services, chiropractors, osteopaths and other medical or health services, including services relating to mental health
  • veterinary surgeons and pet shops
  • agricultural supplies shops and agricultural markets
  • storage and distribution facilities, including delivery drop off or collection points, where the facilities are in the premises of a business included in list
  • car parks
  • public toilets
  • livestock markets or auctions
  • outdoor markets
  • garden centres and plant nurseries
  • key cutting shops
  • mobility and independent living aids shops
  • baby equipment shops
  • electrical goods shops, for the purposes of repair
  • premises-based hairdressers and barbers which, by law, must be by appointment only and for a specified time
  • homeware shops
  • homeware showrooms. Face-to-face design consultations within showrooms should be by appointment where possible, with the size of shopping groups to be kept to a minimum.
  • motor vehicle showrooms (appointment only) and forecourts. By law, customer access to an indoor showroom must be by staggered appointment with, where reasonably practicable, a gap between each appointment

Businesses which are allowed to stay open will be expected to follow all other legal requirements, rules and guidance.

Click and collect services

From 5 April 2021 click and collect services can be offered by all retailers in Level 4 areas, in line with permitted collection services regulations.

It is important that all collection services are operated in a way that minimises any opportunity for contact between staff and customers and between customers.  From 5 April, all non-essential retailers are able to offer a permitted collection service only where it meets the following legal requirements:

  • it is operated by a staggered appointment system for collection with, where reasonably practicable, a gap between each appointment to separate customers from each other
  • limits access to the premises only to the extent, if any, that is required to offer the collection service.  Access to other areas of the closed store is not allowed

Retailers should therefore ensure that there is a gap between appointments unless there is a good reason why that is not practicable.  The length of the gap may vary according to the circumstances, bearing in mind that this requirement is imposed in order to keep staff and customers safe.

While permitted collection restrictions do not apply to essential retailers, the use of appointments to collect pre-ordered goods is strongly encouraged.

Travelling through Levels

There is guidance on travel rules and restrictions and protection levels, including information about essential travel.



First published: 1 Apr 2021 Last updated: 1 Jun 2021 -