Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Phase 1: staying at home and away from others (physical distancing)

Rules on staying at home and away from others to help protect the NHS and save lives.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Phase 1: staying at home and away from others (physical distancing)
Delivering these measures

Delivering these measures

These measures will reduce our day to day contact with other people. They are a vital part of our efforts to  reduce the rate of transmission of coronavirus.

The Scottish Government is ensuring the police and other relevant authorities have the powers to enforce them where people do not comply.

If you leave your home without a reasonable excuse or gather in public in groups that include people from more than 2 households the police may:

  • instruct you to go home, leave an area or disperse
  • instruct you to take steps to stop your children breaking these rules if they have already done so
  • take you home – or arrest you – if you do not follow their instructions or where they deem it necessary

The police will act with discretion and common sense in applying these measures and we expect the public to act responsibly, staying at home in order to save lives.

However, if they believe you have broken these rules and you are 18 or over – or you refuse to follow their instructions – a police officer may issue you with a fixed penalty notice for £60 (reduced to £30 if paid within 28 days). 

If a person has already received a fixed penalty notice, the amount will increase to £120 and double on each further repeat offence up to a maximum of £960.

The government will keep this under review and will increase the penalties if it becomes clear that this is necessary to ensure compliance.   

Similarly, a business or venue operating in contravention with these measures will be committing an offence.

Businesses and venues that breach the Regulations will be subject to prohibition notices, and potentially fixed penalties. Local Authorities working with the Health and Safety Executive and with the support of Police Scotland, are empowered to issue prohibition notices to require compliance with the Regulations including requiring that an activity ceases.

For both individuals and companies, if you refuse to pay a fixed penalty or the police consider it necessary, you may also be taken to court, and face the statutory maximum level of fines (£10,000). 

These measures  are in force for 6 months in the first instance, unless all, or parts are revoked. They were reviewed on 16 April 2020 and are being retained. They will be reviewed again no later than 21 days from that date.