Frequently asked questions

These questions and answers are aimed at providing further clarity to sector businesses following publication of Scottish Government sectoral guidance, and subsequent statutory guidance and additional measures for the hospitality sector, including those as a result of Scotland’s Strategic Framework. It is not separate to government guidance but designed to complement it and further the understanding of what businesses need to consider and do to ensure they are operating safely and within the legal requirements.

As we move through Scotland’s Route Map, guidance is having to be regularly reviewed and updated. Government does not want to keep restrictions in place a moment longer than is necessary, but safety must come first. Businesses are therefore requested to maintain the excellent work that has been undertaken so far and to continue working with authorities to build on that progress.

We have prepared this in cooperation with Environmental Health Officers and industry. It will be updated as more information becomes available.

Remember – continue to record customer contact details to support Test and Protect (as of 14 August 2020 this is a mandatory requirement) and encourage staff and customers to download the Protect Scotland App.

Scotland's levels approach



Q. When can hospitality open?

A. Outdoor hospitality will open from 26 April with alcohol permitted outdoors (no meal requirement) with licensing times applicable, which for most premises will be 22:00 (last order times planned accordingly). Limited indoor hospitality will also be permitted from 26 April for food and non-alcoholic drinks up to 20:00 (last order times planned accordingly). 

Q. Does closing time mean doors closed with all customers departed or is there an eating/drinking up period?

A. All customers must be departed by stipulated closing time with last orders planned accordingly. It is understood indoor service areas will need to remain open for later outdoor closing where this is a later time, and for takeaway.

From 17 May it is hoped indoor hospitality can resume alcohol service (with no meal requirement) with 22:30 closing and 2 hour booked time slots to manage dwell times. There will then be incremental changes from June, or when Scotland moves to lower levels of the Strategic Framework i.e. level 1 closing at 23:00 and level 0 back to licensing hours. All measures will be keep under review.

Q. Does outdoor and indoor service need to be at table/seated only (see food to go for quick service outlets)?

A. Yes, service must be at table/seated only both indoors and outdoors in the initial stages of reopening. 

Q How do operators manage the seating requirement?

A Operators should consider their systems for how this can be managed i.e. pre-booked slots, arrival point for checking-in and directing customers to tables, ordering systems, whether manual or electronic, and clear customer information on process and required compliance behaviours, such as need to wear face coverings when using toilet facilities, keeping physically distanced and recording personal details/using ‘check-in Scotland app’ for Test and Protect etc. This is necessary to ensure safe practice while the virus is still a threat to public health and while the vaccination programme is still being rolled out. 

Q. Can hospitality premises serve non-alcoholic drinks indoors from 26 April without a meal?

A. Yes, teas, coffees and soft drinks can be served indoors without food within socialising rules until 20:00 (last orders planned accordingly) from 26 April.

Q. How is it envisaged the 2 hour time slots indoors at level 2 will work?

A. This measure is in guidance rather than regulations. It is expected that operators will arrange their own systems to ensure dwell times indoors are managed. This is to help facilitate rotation of sittings and limit the time people are spending in enclosed spaces while the country remains in a relative level of risk and will be temporary to level 2 only. Most food services premises will already be accustomed to regular turnover of tables to facilitate rotation of sittings. For drink only services customers should be advised at time of booking/checking-in of the expected dwell time and systems should be in place to ensure customer awareness and cooperation with the measure. 

Q. What are the socialising rules for hospitality?

A. From 26 April up to 6 people from 6 different households can meet outdoors and 6 from 2 different households indoors. From 17 May this will be 8 people from 8 households outdoors and 6 from 3 different household indoors. Numbers will increase again in levels 1 (approx. early June) and level 0 (approx. late June). People from different households must remain 1m apart. As with previously, operators should ensure booking systems take account of these requirements so bookings for groups exceeding these limits are not made. Layout of tables should also ensure physical distancing between groups and households can be observed. Children under 12 do not count towards the number of people but do count towards the number of households.

Q: I am the secretary of a local private member’s club. Are there any special rules which apply to me under the Levels approach?

A: No, private members clubs are subject to the same rules as other hospitality providers.

Q. In terms of re-opening has anything changed in terms of the mitigation I need to have in place?

A. Yes we understand more about the main routes of transmission and as a result the ranking of the mitigations has changed slightly to emphasise the importance of ventilation. The order of importance is physical distancing, ventilation, face coverings, hand hygiene and cleaning. This is not an optional list and all play their part in providing a safer environment to trade.

Q. What happens if my local authority area moves to a different level?

A. It is expected that all of Scotland, including the Islands, will move in lock-step together through the levels. There may be the need for local outbreak management measures to be taken, in which case further details will be provided for effected areas.

Q. What is the criteria for defining an outdoor structure from an indoors space?

A. Outdoor trading areas must be managed in accordance with the rules for what constitutes an outdoor space/structure. The intention of an outdoor covering is so to provide basic shelter from the elements and not to replicate the conditions for indoors. The structure should be at least 1.5 metres away from any other buildings or walls to allow adequate ventilation. It should also be at least 50% open i.e. not all sides enclosed. If in doubt operators should consult their local environment health teams for an assessment of any structure or advice prior to construction/operation.

Q. Can outdoor customers enter the premises to use toilet facilities?

A. Yes, but operators must review their risk assessments to ensure robust protocols are in place to manage any pinch points where people are likely to come into closer contact with one another. Face coverings when indoors and not seated will also still be required i.e. when visiting toilet facilities.

Q. Can premises offer alcohol as off-sales alongside food as takeaway or collection?

A. Yes, if they are already licensed to sell alcohol, and are complying with the terms of their license. Arrangements must be in place to ensure there is a clear and safe ordering system in place, observing rules on physical distancing, and that customers are not queuing in the premises.

Q. Can takeaways still deliver off-sales and can people still buy alcohol to consume in their own homes?

A. Yes, if this complies with their existing license.

Q. Is room service permitted in hotels, with or without alcohol?

A. Yes, room service can continue to be offered with alcohol, including mini-bar.

Q. Can people bring in alcohol from the supermarket to their hotel room?

A. Yes, people are free to consume alcohol in private in hotel rooms.

Q. What time can hotels serve residents in level 3?

A. Meal service, without alcohol, indoors can be provided for residents from 06:00-22:00 in level 3. Outdoor service in line with general hospitality rules – alcohol permitted within licensing conditions and mitigating measures – physical distancing/table service only etc.

Q. Can hotels accept bookings for food from non-residents?

A. Yes, during operating hours for the relevant level and for residents 06:00 – 22:00 at level 3 without alcohol.

Q. Can hotels serve alcohol to guests indoors at level 3 with a meal?

A. Unfortunately, there are still restrictions on the service of alcohol indoors at level 3 in general hospitality, but this will be possible from 17 May when Scotland moves to level 2.

Q. Can catering facilities on site at holiday parks continue to provide meals for residents beyond 20:00 in level 3?

A. Yes. The same rules apply here as for hotel residents at level 3 - during operating hours for the relevant level and for residents 06:00 – 22:00 – without alcohol.

Q. Can hotels serve residents who are using lodge accommodation in their restaurants until 22:00 in level 3?

A. Yes, these would be considered ‘residents’ for the purpose of providing meals.

Food /to go


Q. Can customers enter premises to order, pay for and collect food to go at level 3/from 26 April?

A. Yes, operators should revisit their earlier protocols for safe ordering arrangements, ensuring there is clear systems in place to observe physical distancing, face coverings when inside public spaces and staff safety measures via screens etc. They should also ensure premises capacity has been considered as part of risk assessments and not admit numbers that exceed the maximum based on those calculations. Depending on capacity, queueing outside may need to be considered.

Q. Can sit-in customers in quick service restaurants order, pay and collect at service points from level 3/26 April?

A. Yes, as prior to lockdown, operators should apply their earlier safe operating protocols to ensure physical distancing is maintained, face coverings worn when not seated, hand hygiene observed, enhanced hygiene/cleaning and staff safety measure undertaken. They should also ensure premises capacity has been considered as part of risk assessments and numbers that exceed the maximum based on those calculations not admitted.

Q Is there a curfew for takeaway? 

A. No restriction at any time.

Q. Can drive thru/collection operate?

A. Yes, no restriction at any time.

Q. Collection for coffee – can this still be done in person?

A. Yes.

Travel and accommodation


What you need to know if you want to visit, or travel around Scotland

Q. Can I visit Scotland from elsewhere in the UK, or Ireland?

A. Yes, travel restrictions were lifted on 26 April. 

Travel to or from Scotland and England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the following parts of the Common Travel Area - Channel Islands and the Isle of Man (subject to any local restrictions in place) is allowed for areas of Scotland in Levels 0-2. You can only leave or enter a Level 3 or 4 area of Scotland for a permissible reason.

Please check the protection level for the part of the country you intend to visit ahead of any visit.

Under Scottish law, restrictions remain on travel to the remaining part of the Common Travel Area, the Republic of Ireland, but will be kept under review. 

See Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on travel and transport for further detail.

Q. I live in Scotland - can I go on my planned domestic holiday?

A. All tourist accommodation re-opened for holidays on 26 April (hotels, B&Bs, self-catering, caravan and camping sites), in line with sector guidance. 

The Strategic Framework Protection Levels will continue to apply as we move forward. 

Unrestricted travel is allowed within Scotland except for any areas in Level 3 or Level 4. Travel to or from an area in Level 3 or 4 can only be undertaken for a permitted reason. Holidays are not permissible reasons. Similarly non-essential travel to/from other parts of the UK, which would affect holiday travel, may also need to be restricted in future, to deal with local outbreaks, however this will depend on the course of the pandemic.

Q. Can I go on day trips, or to a visitor attraction?

A. Please see guidance on visitor attractions in the protection levels framework for detail: Coronavirus (COVID-19) protection levels: what you can do

Q. What can I do if I have concerns about a business not following guidelines? 

A. In order to ensure compliance we have invested additional resources to increase the number of Environmental Health Officers and are working closely with Police Scotland to engage with the public, explain the rules and guidance, encourage compliance and, where necessary, enforce them. 

If you have concerns about a business not complying with the guidance you should contact your Local Authority’s Environmental Health Team, who will then contact the business to provide advice. Any concerns you have around groups not adhering to the social distancing regulations can be raised with police locally. Police Scotland has made clear that where officers encounter wilful and persistent breaches, they will act decisively to enforce the law. 

Police Scotland have advised that anyone can report a possible breach of the Coronavirus Regulations through their online reporting tool - Covid-19 Reporting form | Police Scotland, or by dialling 101 (for non-emergencies). 

What you need to know if you are a tourism business operator

Q Can I open my tourist accommodation?

A. Tourist accommodation was permitted to re-open from 26 April. 

Operators should ensure booking systems take account of number of people / number of household requirements so bookings for groups exceeding in-house socialising limits are not made.

Please note that travel to or from areas in Levels 3 or 4 is not allowable for holiday purposes.

Q. How can I ensure my accommodation is safe for visitors? 

A. Safe operating practices will continue to be the subject of a risk-based approach, with all premises required to revisit their COVID-19 risk assessments.

Bedrooms should only be occupied by members of one household (or extended household). 

In self-catered or other unregulated accommodation, in-house socialising rules apply for the level in which it is in.

In public spaces within regulated (staffed) tourist accommodation, the rules about socialising in an indoors public place apply.

Please see indoor socialising rules specifed for each level for public/private places.

Tourism and hospitality guidance should be followed with any easings to mitigate risk.

No in-house socialising is permitted at Levels 3 or 4, so different households must not share self-catering accommodation. 

Operators are advised to ensure there is sufficient capacity within their accommodation to safely accommodate the numbers of people and households permitted in the levels framework, allowing for physical distancing between household groups. The number of people and households permitted will depend on the capacity of the accommodation, and the stage we are at in the coronavirus timetable for easing restrictions

When the levels approach permits the sharing of self-catered tourist accommodation it is advisable for separate households to have their own bedrooms and that shared bathrooms and kitchens are kept clean and materials and instructions for these are provided. 

Visitors should pay particular attention to cleaning and ventilation to reduce risk of transmission (e.g. preparing and eating a meal). Where communal toilets are being used providers should implement measures to decrease the risk of contamination, including enhanced cleaning, and consider reducing access to a one in, one out basis. Cleaning materials should be provided for users to ‘clean as they go’.

The approach to reducing household restrictions will be gradual as we move through the levels to ensure continued suppression of the virus. We will keep the guidance around restrictions under review to ensure safety but will not keep them in place longer than is necessary.

Q. Who can share a bedroom in tourist accommodation? 

A. Bedrooms should be occupied only by members of one household or extended household. 

Q. Within regulated tourist accommodation which indoor socialising rules apply to shared and / or public areas? 

A. In public spaces within regulated accommodation, the rules with regard to socialising in an indoors public place will apply, subject to relevant appropriate mitigation measures.

In private / self-catering environments which are unstaffed (which would include hostels entertaining as an exclusive use booking and with no staff on hand), then the in-house socialising rules will apply.

Q. What are the rules for campsites/caravan parks and other accommodation types?

A. We recognise that there are many different types of visitor accommodation available. The same rules apply to all types of accommodation, whether a campsite, yurt, railway carriage, treehouse or castle.

Q. Can workers from more than one household stay in self-catering accommodation?

A. Certain sectors of the economy such as forestry, construction and telephone engineers, rely on shared self-catering accommodation for work that cannot be undertaken from home. While we recommend individual, self-contained accommodation for each employee we recognise that this is not always feasible. 

Specific guidance and mitigations have therefore been developed in circumstances where separate accommodation cannot be provided and where workers are willing to share: see Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on workers' accommodation

Q. I am an operator providing accommodation for essential workers – is there specific guidance I need to follow?

A. Yes, please refer to the guidance on workers’ accommodation for specific information on what measures you need to consider and have in place.

Q. What if a single household is larger than the in-house socialising rules restrictions? For example in level 2, six people from three households are permitted to socialise in a private dwelling. Could a large household of say eleven in number (two adults and nine children) be accommodated? 

Yes, a large single household can be accommodated. However, if a household is larger than four people they cannot share with other households unless they are in an existing support bubble with the main household. 

Q. Do the in-house socialising rules on restricted numbers and households include children under 12? 

A. Children under 12 do not count towards the total number of people but do count towards the number of households indoors. Please note that this differs from outdoor socialising rules where under 12s do not count towards restricted numbers or households.

Q: Can I take bookings from visitors from other parts of the UK and/or other parts of the Common Travel Area? 

A: Bookings can be taken in accordance with the travel rules. Where rules differ in other UK nations and overseas, visitors must follow relevant local travel restrictions. 

Travel between Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the following parts of the Common Travel Area - Channel Islands and the Isle of Man (subject to any local restrictions in place) is allowed for areas in Levels 0-2, but not for Levels 3 or 4 unless for a permitted reason. You should check the rules on entry and local restrictions before you travel to these destinations (see links below). 

Under Scottish law, restrictions remain on travel to the remaining part of the Common Travel Area, the Republic of Ireland, but will be kept under review. 

See Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on travel and transport for further detail.

Q. What should I do if a booking is no longer in line with travel advice?

A. Where a booking is no longer in line with travel advice you should follow the good practice we have seen so far through the pandemic, and follow the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) guidance with regard to refunds, cancellations, and rescheduling. In line with CMA guidance, a full refund should be offered to customers who booked holiday homes but could not stay in them due to lockdown restrictions. 

The Scottish Government recognises the difficult position that many holiday companies will find themselves in at present. The regulation of consumer protection is the responsibility of the UK Government at Westminster. The CMA has issued guidance to businesses and consumers about refunds.

Coach tours

When can I promote and accept bookings for coach tours?

Bookings from 26 April can be accepted, subject to protocols being in place to ensure socialising rules and physical distancing can be properly observed and managed.

For coach tours, are we restricted to bookings within the socialising rules?

Coach tour businesses can accept bookings from separate independent groups within the current socialising rules for indoor and outdoor public spaces and should review their risk assessment to determine how socialising and physical distancing rules can be observed at each level. Your risk assessment should indicate what a safe number should be where socialising rules and physical distancing can be observed, but in the current climate this would be expected to be below normal functioning levels. Operations should still look and feel different.

As with last year, it is possible to take bookings from separate independent groups within the socialising limits but not to take single bookings from large groups that clearly exceed the limits i.e. three separate bookings of small groups within the limits that can be physically distanced from one another but not a single booking of a large group of friends who will be known to one another and therefore more likely to want to interact with each other.

In relation to a school tour booking – as the pupils already spend most of their days in each other’s company do we still need to limit their household numbers when on a coach tour going to a visitor attraction or on an outdoor walking tour?

Distancing between pupils is not required at the venue, as we would interpret the visit as being educational in nature, and so the school advice would apply. This means that no distancing should be required between pupils from the same school class or year group visiting a venue on a school-related trip. We would attach some additional caveats that the school and the venue should seek to ensure that the class as a whole stays together on-site and stays distant from other adults and members of public in the venue. Class “bubbles” should be kept apart, whether they are classes from a single school or from different schools. As per the guidance on safety of outdoor centre visits (see page 10), two metre distancing should remain in place wherever possible between adults, and between adults and pupils who are not from the same household. The school and venue must undertake the appropriate risk assessment. Please see the broader “reducing the risks in schools” guidance.

As part of the tour can we visit restaurants, visitor attractions etc?

Tours are permitted to stop off to visit attractions, have lunch etc but must adhere to the guidance in place for the hospitality sector when doing so.

Face coverings in hospitality


Q: What is meant by ‘when seated and during service’ – does this mean people have to wear a face covering if not actually eating food or drinking?

A: No, once seated at a table people can remove their face covering. The intention is to mitigate the risks where it may be more difficult to keep physically distanced from others such as when entering, exiting and moving around a premises i.e. using the bathroom.

Q: What if customers are not complying with the rules – what should I do?

A: The responsibility is, in the first instance, on the individual to follow the rules. You should offer advice to customers to follow the rules and use the available resources from government to display key messages for hospitality on the premises. If non-compliance is deliberate and persistent you may wish to refuse service. Everyone is expected to play their part to ensure risk is kept to a minimum and help keep businesses open.

Q: The rules say staff are required to wear face coverings – does this mean every member of staff?

A: Public facing, front of house staff are required to wear face coverings. Staff whilst in any communal indoor area must wear a face covering. There is an exemption for staff who are more than 2 metres away from the public/colleagues or they are behind a suitable partition.

Q: If a customer claims to be exempt from wearing a face covering for health reasons should we ask for proof?

A: There are certain exemptions from wearing face coverings – if a customer claims to be in this group you should accept their explanation. 

Physical distancing


Q: Does the exemption from 2m to 1m physical distancing in bars and restaurants also apply to staff only areas such as kitchens and, if so, what mitigation measures are required?

A: The exemption applies across the premises. The legislation requires that businesses take all reasonable measures to ensure that physical distancing is maintained. A risk assessment should be undertaken to ensure that suitable controls are implemented. These issues should be discussed with employees as detailed in the Scottish Government sectoral guidance .

Q: I want my business to operate with physical distancing of less than 2m, what do I need to do?

A: In order for the physical distancing requirement to be reduced to 1m businesses must be able to demonstrate that they have implemented additional mitigation measures over and above what would be required to operate at 2m to minimise risk. The additional measures must be in place prior to the distancing requirement being reduced. We have published guidance to help you carry out the necessary risk assessment. As a reminder, the legislation requires that businesses take all reasonable measures to ensure that physical distancing is maintained.

Q: Would this apply to my external area too?

A: Yes, provided that similar additional control measures are in place within the external area.

Q: What kind of additional mitigation measures would be acceptable?

A: By carrying out a new risk assessment process you, as a business, will be able to identify additional mitigation measures that can be applied to your premises. The focus must be how you ensure 1m physical distancing is maintained in all areas, as well as additional protections for staff. The measures that need to be implemented include:

  • review layouts, including installation of physical barriers (Perspex screens etc.) where 1m physical distancing cannot be met
  • increasing the frequency of air changes within the ventilation system and open windows/doors where possible
  • face coverings for front of house staff (mandatory)
  • requiring customers to remain seated whilst on premises with no standing at bar areas
  • hand hygiene stations available
  • enhanced cleaning arrangements (require to be documented)

The above list is not exhaustive. The decision-making process should be documented and retained on site.



Q: Can my customers queue at the bar?

A: There should be no queueing at bar or service areas indoors. All service should take place at seated/table areas.

Q. Can my customers queue for to use toilet facilities?

A. Toilet facilities must be managed carefully and it is recognised that this may require at times the need for customers to queue in a physically distanced and orderly manner to allow facilities to be used safely. Space should be identified for this away from seated areas that can ensure physical distancing and that do not encroach on passage ways. Customers should be wearing face coverings when not seated.

Q: What measures should I put in place to make sure that customers queue safely outside my premises?

A: If necessary, external queuing should be organised in a way that facilitates physical distancing. The use of markers either on the wall or ground identifying where an individual should stand is encouraged. Where family groups are waiting together they should try not to encroach on others within the queue. It may be necessary that family groups take up two spaces within the queue to ensure sufficient distance is maintained from others.

Should queuing become problematic and block the footpaths or cross neighbouring premises consideration will need to be given to the implementation of an alternative arrangement for example; taking a contact number and calling when a table is available.

The maximum number of people attending in groups should be in accordance with the Scottish Government guidance.

Q: My restaurant has booth seating in place. Can I safely use all of them or do I need to alternate their occupancy to maintain distancing?

A: Where booth seating is fixed and individuals from different parties are seated back to back there is no need to alternate occupancy. It may be necessary to modify the height of the seat backs to above head height, this will provide additional screening. Movement within premises should be minimal and customers should adhere to government guidelines on physical distancing and respiratory etiquette whilst on the premises.

Q: I have put in additional mitigation measures necessary to reduce physical distancing in my premises to 1m. Is it possible to have tables located at 1m apart provided that customers are seated back to back or do I require to put in screening?

A: Where possible some form of separation should be put in place, this could be in the form of a screen or a planter. The purpose of this being to prevent one table encroaching into the space of another. Another alternative would be to increase the distance between tables to 1.5m which will allow for the customers to move in and out of their seats without bothering neighbouring tables.

Where installing physical separation measures, such as screens, care should be taken to ensure that these items do not become a hazard in themselves. Screens should be securely fixed in place to ensure that they cannot fall over. Where fixing items to the floor these should not present a trip hazard. It is also very important to ensure that emergency exits and escape routes are kept clear and free from obstruction. 

Q: Do I need to display a sign notifying customers they are entering a 1m physical distancing zone?

A: Yes, this should be displayed clearly at entry points and throughout the premises – signage should state that "this is a 1 metre physical distancing zone – follow the advice of staff and observe physical distancing 

Q: My premises covers multiple floors. Can I have one floor where 2m distancing is maintained and the other with 1m?

A: This is possible as long as the appropriate measures are taken in line with guidance for operating at either 2m or with the 1m exemption.​​​​​

Sanitary facilities


Q. I want to increase the capacity of my premises by extending the outdoor drinking area does the toilet provision affect this?

A. Yes you should ensure you have sufficient number of toilets available for the capacity you are operating to. It may be that additional portable toilets may have to be provided.

Q: Do I need to reduce the number of toilets/urinals in use within my premises?

A: The provision and use of sanitary facilities within your premises will require to be risk assessed. 
If, as a business, you wish to retain use of all urinals within the premises the following requires to be in place and evidence available to demonstrate the steps are in place;

  • increasing the number and frequency of air changes in the ventilation system
  • enhanced programme of cleaning and replenishment
  • regular monitoring of capacity within toilet facilities
  • where 1m cannot be maintained then screens should be provided

In all other circumstances physical distancing must be maintained.

Q: The toilet cubicles within my premises have full height partitions and mechanical ventilation – can these continue to be used as normal or do I need to close some off?

A: Where cubicles are fully enclosed and there are sufficient air changes per hour they can continue to be used as normal provided that there are enhanced cleaning arrangements in place. 

Sport and entertainment


Q. Does the previous arrangements for managing low level background sound continue to apply to hospitality?

A. Yes, premises should continue to follow that guidance

Q. Can a hospitality premises switch to being an events venue for the purpose of hosting a live event, such as band/gig/show etc., rather than only background music?

A. If a hospitality premises has the correct facilities, space, license conditions and clearance from the local authority then it may be possible to pivot to hosting events, but this must be planned and conducted under the relevant guidance for events and or performing arts, depending on the nature of the event, and at 2m physical distancing. It is not possible at this time to host a live entertainment event under general hospitality guidance at 1m physical distancing.​​

Q. Can hospitality premises offer pool, darts and gaming machines?

A. As previously, the operability of pool and gaming machines is linked to the status of related premises where these services are a primary activity i.e. pool/snooker halls and amusement arcades. Therefore:

  • Level 3 – amusement arcades, snooker/pool halls closed – gaming machines and pool not permitted in hospitality
  • Level 2 – amusement arcades, snooker/pool halls open – gaming machines and pool permitted in hospitality (subject to risk assessment and robust hygiene arrangements)

Suggested good practice for managing pool/snooker includes:

  • cues and cue balls to be kept behind the bar and issued on request
  • cues, rests, triangles, table surrounds and coin slots etc. are required to be sanitised between each use
  • provide wipes and hand sanitiser for use adjacent to each pool/snooker table
  • pool and snooker players must wear a mask as soon as they leave their seat and when playing
  • doubles and ‘killer’ type games, where multiple players are involved, are to be avoided, singles only
  • there must be a minimum of 1 metre physical distancing between players and other adjacent seated customers at all times, including when using passageways/walkways to go to the toilet etc.

Q. Can hospitality premises show TV broadcasts, including live sports?

A. Hospitality premises may show TV broadcasts (within low level sound management guidance)) during opening hours but operators must fully risk assess any high profile broadcast that may have the potential to increase the risk of crowding and breaking down of physical distancing protocols. For example, a live sports broadcast must not be planned and or promoted as an event to draw in customers for the sole purpose of watching it on TV. Experience shows this is high risk in the current context and should be avoided at the outset.

Q. Can hospitality premises show live Euro 2020 matches?

A. Yes, in line with existing guidance, hospitality premises can show Euros matches and display what games are on, though the advice in the above question and answer continues to apply – Euros themed events cannot take place in general hospitality operating at 1m physical distancing. We have worked closely with industry to provide supplementary advice to premises wishing to show Euros matches. You can read this advice on the Scottish Beer and Pub Association web site. ​​​​​​We encourage all hospitality operators who plan to show Euros matches in their premises to read this alongside the sector guidance for hospitality on these pages. Further updates will be provided ahead of the last 16/knock-out stages with regards managing closing times during games that may result in extended play.

Q: Are customers allowed to play games likes dominoes and darts?

A: Darts may be played if there is a dedicated space for play away from thoroughfares at Levels 0-1 i.e. separate room, and where there is adequate space to ensure physical distancing along with risk assessed robust cleaning procedures, with no sharing of darts and no consumption of food or drink when not seated. Where this is not possible then it will be necessary to refrain from darts play at this time. At Levels 2-3 darts should not be played. Dominoes is also not possible at this time at any level. Proximity of players and the need for sharing of game pieces makes this activity too high risk 

Q: Can hospitality host quiz nights?

A: While it was previously advised that quiz nights might be possible under the earlier level 2, with additional mitigating measures, operators are advised to refrain from hosting quizzes at this time in the current level 2 arrangements. This is due to the advice to manage dwell times indoors, and the practical difficulties of managing a quiz without allowing the sharing of answer sheets between groups or organisers. This will be kept under review for lower levels. 

Q: We have a selection of books and toys available for children to use whilst on the premises. Can we no longer offer these? 

A: There is no requirement for children under 12 to physically distance from one another, however, objects such as toys and books could present a vector for infection, therefore provision of such items is discouraged. As an alternative, colouring sheets, pencils or crayons could be made available on request. Where toys are to be made available it is recommended that these be made of plastic or other readily cleanable materials and that they be included on the cleaning schedule for the premises.

Q: Are we allowed to host a silent disco (day or night) where customers wear headphones to participate?

A: Stand up events are not possible in hospitality at this time- limited seated adaptations of these types of activities have resulted in singing and shouting in premises, and physical distancing not being observed, which present an increased transmission risk. It is therefore not recommended to offer these limited sit down activities at this time.​​​​

Overnight boating and small cruising


Overnight boating or cruising can take place for boats or ships that carry up to 12 passengers from multiple households from Level 2 of the Strategic Framework.

For catered boats, the tourism and hospitality guidance should be applied from the point of embarkation throughout the voyage and while disembarking. This would mean that 1m physical distancing can be applied in hospitality settings provided appropriate mitigations are in place as outlined in hospitality section of this guidance eg seating only in households or extended households, with at least 1m between tables. Outwith hospitality settings, 2m physical distancing remains the default for example while embarking/disembarking and in public spaces. 

In addition, any accommodation, regardless of format, that is used to for overnight accommodation on an unmanaged self-catering basis such a bare boat charter, is treated as a private dwelling, for the purpose of these regulations, and therefore covered by the in-house socialising rulesGiven the transmission risks associated with different households, cabins should only be occupied by one household or extended household. This is the position in levels 0-3 (closed in 4). Yacht Charter businesses etc. should be particularly mindful of the need for there to be sufficient space with the accommodation to allow for in-house socialising.

In both cases, businesses will be required to undertake a full risk assessment and ensure appropriate mitigations are in place. In order to be compliant, businesses may wish to give consideration to rotating meal times, one way systems etc. For suggestions on practical solutions please see the industry guidance on the SailScotland website.

Overnight boats are not permitted to operate in any Level 3 or 4 area. 

This does not apply to passenger carrying ships with over 12 passengers which are to be given separate consideration due to the risk factors involved. We would hope to review this position in June.

Q: Is cruising allowed in Scotland?

A: Domestic cruise is recommended to restart in Scotland once all of Scotland reaches Level 1. This applies to passenger-carrying vessels (with over 12 passengers) for the purpose of leisure. The date of this will be determined through regular reviews which take place every 3 weeks. The next review point is scheduled ahead of the planned easing of restrictions from 28 June. We are currently working with the sector to prepare guidance which will be available on our website.

This only relates to domestic cruise restart. Given the additional risks, international cruise will be given separate consideration and aligned with any devolved policies on international travel. An update will be provided in due course. This does also not apply to day trips on boats which may operate in line with exisiting guidance.

Test and Protect


Q: Test and Protect – should I be retaining the contact details of individuals who visit my premises for business reasons e.g. trades people, environmental health staff, etc.?

A: Yes, where an individual is on the premises for any length of time they should be asked to provide details/use check-in Scotland app in the event that they are required for contact tracing purposes

Q: We have put in Perspex screens between booth seating, does this prevent customers from being identified as a close contact in the event a positive case has been on the premises?

A: The provision of mitigations such as Perspex panels will be taken into consideration during the risk assessment undertaken by the contact tracer. We cannot give absolute guarantees of exemption from a request to self-isolate but mitigations are taken into account.

Q: How long does a person have to be on my premises before I am required to take their details for Test and Protect?

A: Contact details must be taken from customers and visitors on arrival regardless of how long they are on the premises.

Q: Where a waiter is serving a table over the course of their time in a restaurant and frequents the table on a number of occasions for less than 1 minute per time, would they still be considered a close contact for tracing purposes? 

A: Any amount of face-to-face contact makes it possible for someone to be identified as a close contact, however the wearing of face coverings and other mitigations being implemented are considered by contact tracers when risk assessing potential virus exposure and any requests to self-isolate which follow.

Q: Who is eligible to ask for the Test and Protect information? Can I provide this to Environmental Health Officers? 

A: Information can be provided to Environmental Health staff where they are undertaking an investigation into a confirmed case or cluster associated with the premises. Where information is provided this will be passed to the Test and Protect team for contact tracing purposes and not retained by the Local Authority.

It is not anticipated that Environmental Health staff would request this information outside of an investigation other than check details to ensure compliance with the legal requirement.

Q: What details should I retain for Test and Protect purposes?

A: The Check-in Scotland app will record the key information but if being taken manually then the information that requires to be retained for customers and visitors is:

  • name of each customer
  • a contact phone number for each customer
  • date of visit, arrival and where possible, departure time

For larger establishments, and where possible, it is also helpful to record table numbers of sections where customers were seated.



Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

First published: 16 Apr 2021 Last updated: 14 Jun 2021 -