Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): ventilation guidance

Getting fresh air into indoor spaces to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): ventilation guidance
Introduction

Introduction

The provision of fresh air into indoor environments is essential to preventing the spread of COVID-19. By taking measures to increase the volume of outside air entering a building, such as opening windows, doors or vents, you can help minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19 to colleagues, friends, family members and customers. This remains important even once we are in ‘beyond level 0’ and most other restrictions are lifted, as the virus is still prevalent.

This guidance is designed to support the mixing of individuals safely in indoor settings. It has two parts – one providing guidance for domestic, or home settings, and the other for non-domestic, or commercial properties.

Transmission risk

Coronavirus is mainly transmitted between people directly through droplet and aerosols and indirectly through contact with contaminated surfaces.

Droplet transmission occurs when an infected person coughs or sneezes and their respiratory droplets enter the mouth, nose, eyes or airways of another person.

Aerosol transmission is transmission via fine mists (aerosols) and droplets containing the virus that are suspended in air. There is increasing evidence of the potential risk of aerosol transmission, particularly in poorly ventilated and/or crowded environments.

As a result, ventilation is an important factor in reducing the risk of aerosol transmission indoors, where individuals may be in close contact, potentially for longer periods of time.

As ventilation requirements vary depending on the situation and setting, the advice cannot easily be distilled into a simple one-size fits all solution. For workplaces or public spaces, it is therefore vitally important that a specific risk assessment is carried out for each indoor premises.

Ventilation is not a substitute for other non-clinical interventions, such as environmental cleaning, face coverings or maintaining good hand and respiratory hygiene. It should be considered as part of a range of mitigation measures.

Summary

  • COVID-19 is spread through the air in droplets and aerosols (finer particles/ drops)
  • good ventilation helps reduce exposure by dispersing droplets and aerosols;
  • meet outside where possible – The risk of infection is reduced as the air dilutes the particles and moves them away from others.
  • let fresh air indoors – Letting fresh air indoors regularly throughout the day will dilute any infected particles and reduce the infection risk.
  • the most important thing to remember is to maximise the amount of fresh air coming into the premises
  • in many home and business premises this will be done through opening vents, windows or doors
  • good ventilation will not stop the potential spread of COVID-19 on its own. It must be in addition to other remaining protective measures such as enhanced hygiene regimes and face coverings.

Easy access, printable summary on ventilation advice for everyone.


Contact

Email: covid-19.policy@gov.scot

First published: 18 Dec 2020 Last updated: 10 Aug 2021 -