Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you can and cannot do

Includes information on seeing friends and family, travel, and guidance for students on visits home.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you can and cannot do


COVID protection levels: a new system of local protection levels will be introduced from 2 November. Check the protection level for your area and find out what you can and cannot do under each level.

This guidance applies across Scotland except in the central belt where additional measures are in place until 06:00 on Monday 2 November.

We are not imposing mandatory travel restrictions at this stage however: 

  • you should minimise public transport use as much as possible, however it may be necessary for travel to education, undertaking caring responsibilities and work, where it cannot be done from home
  • people living in the five health board areas are advised not to travel outside the health board area they live in, unless they need to
  • people in other parts of Scotland should not travel to these areas unless they need to
  • you should access goods, services and activities in your local area as much as possible
  • please walk, wheel and cycle when you can to save space on public transport for those who need it
  • please work from home if you can


If you have booked a holiday during this period then you can still go - but you should only travel with and stay with people from your own or extended household group

Everyone using public transport in Scotland must wear a face covering. Some people don’t have to wear a face covering including for age, health, or disability reasons.

For further advice and guidance see Transport Scotland’s website: advice on travelling safely within Scotland.

Travelling to Scotland from other parts of the UK

Check local guidance before travelling to others parts of the UK, and if possible avoid travelling to areas with restrictions in place. See local advice and measures.

Travelling abroad

You should think carefully before booking non-essential foreign travel at this time.

All countries are keeping the virus situation under review and travel rules can change at short notice to protect public health. This could include having to quarantine. Do not assume that the rules and regulations applying to or in your destination when you book a holiday will stay the same when you are there or be the same when you come to travel home.

Travelling to Scotland from overseas

You must quarantine (self-isolate) for 14 days if you arrive in Scotland from a country outside the Common Travel Area, unless you are travelling from a country that is exempt.

The Common Travel Area includes the following places, and only applies if you were there for 14 days or more before arriving in Scotland:

  • England, Northern Ireland and Wales
  • the Republic of Ireland
  • the Channel Islands
  • the Isle of Man

Quarantine rules apply to all travel to Scotland, by train, ferry, coach, air or any other route. It also applies regardless of how you have arrived in Scotland – directly or via another part of the UK.

There is a list of exempt countries or territories where quarantine is not required. This list is continuously reviewed and countries can be taken off or added at any time. There is also a small list of sectoral exemptions where quarantine is not required. This exemptions list is also under regular review.

All passengers must complete an online passenger locator form before travelling, and provide contact details, travel details and the address of their final destination. 

Car/vehicle sharing and giving lifts

You should only share a vehicle with those from your household or extended household. If you have no other option, you should follow the safe travel guidance at the Transport Scotland website which provides advice on how to share vehicles safely. Carers and those they provide unpaid care for can travel together but they should follow that advice.

First published: 9 Oct 2020 Last updated: 21 Oct 2020 -