Scotland lockdown: what are the new Covid rules and Tier 4 restrictions?

Scotland has diverged from the UK-wide coronavirus Christmas plan within 24 hours of it being announced. Three households can meet indoors between December 23 and 27 anywhere in the UK, but Scotland will not consider existing bubbles between two households as one, whereas nations south of the border will.  In practice, the rules in Wales, England and Northern Ireland could allow five or six households to meet together over the festive period. On November 26, the Scottish Government set a cap of eight people over 12 years old for Christmas gatherings. They also emphasised that households should remain two meters apart whilst inside.  First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also suggested that families give each other vouchers for Christmas, for health and economic reasons, and warned that on Thursday she will tighten Christmas restrictions around the edges.  As it stands, three households may meet indoors, outdoors or in a place of worship at Christmas, so long as they do not meet with any others and do not meet together in pubs, restaurants and entertainment venues. Hugging will be permitted, care home residents under the age of 65 can visit relatives, and Christmas church services may be held. Travel restrictions between levels will be lifted, but until December 23 people in Level 3 and 4 face fines for venturing outside their council areas. More than two million Scots found themselves in Level 4 restrictions on Friday November 27, which are equivalent to an English lockdown and will remain in place for three weeks. Scotland has its own lockdown rules, and in a further blow to the country's hospitality industry, pubs and restaurants are set to face significant further restrictions under the newly revealed plans Now, 11 local authority areas across central and western Scotland, including Glasgow, have shut non-essential shops, businesses, pubs, restaurants and gyms - but schools remain open. The Level 4 restrictions have been imposed in East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire, North and South Lanarkshire, East and South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian. On November 13, Fife, Angus, Perth and Kinross moved up to level 3, whilst indoor household meetings between up to six people from two households were allowed again in Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles. East Lothian and Midlothian moved down from Level 3 to 2 on November 24, allowing pubs and restaurants to serve alcohol with meals and their residents to travel to Level 1 and 2 areas.  Can I travel to Scotland after lockdown? Under Scottish regulations you must not travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK unless you have a reasonable excuse, such as for work, education or essential shopping. These rules, which will be kept under review, mean you cannot travel to Scotland for non-essential reasons after the lockdown ends in England tomorrow. Other exceptions include travel for healthcare, childcare or shared parenting, and a full list can be found on the Scottish Government website. What are the new levels? The five-level system sees Scottish council areas subject to different limitations based on the infection rate. Scotland as a whole is subject to general rules, such as remote working where possible, mandatory masks on public transport, and a ban on non-essential travel to or from level 3+ areas. Level 0 (low) Level 0 will see the most lenient restrictions applied to low-risk areas in Scotland. Indoor household mixing will be permitted in homes and public places up to a maximum of eight people from three households. Socialising will be permitted outdoors up to a maximum of 15 people from five households. Hospitality venues will be permitted to open at normal licensing times, although social distancing rules will still apply.  Hotel-stays will be permitted. However, non-essential travel to/from level 3+ areas in the UK will be prohibited. Non-essential shops, hairdressers, cinemas and libraries will remain open. Gyms will remain open and all sports will be permitted. Weddings, funerals and places of worship will be limited to a maximum of 50 people. Outdoor and indoor events will be permitted with restricted numbers with the exception of indoor grouped standing events. Level 1 Indoor household mixing will be prohibited, barring exceptions such as caring duties. Socialising will be permitted outdoors and in public places up to a limit of six people from two households. Indoor and outdoor hospitality establishments will remain open until 10.30pm (9.30pm last entry). Hotel stays will be permitted. However, non-essential travel to/from level 3+ areas in the UK will be prohibited. Non-essential shops, hairdressers, cinemas and libraries will remain open. Gyms will remain open and all sports will be permitted, with the exception of indoor contact sports played by over-18s. Weddings and funerals will be limited to a maximum of 20 people and places of worship will be restricted to a maximum of 50 people.

Scotland lockdown: what are the new Covid rules and Tier 4 restrictions?

Scotland has diverged from the UK-wide coronavirus Christmas plan within 24 hours of it being announced.

Three households can meet indoors between December 23 and 27 anywhere in the UK, but Scotland will not consider existing bubbles between two households as one, whereas nations south of the border will. 

In practice, the rules in Wales, England and Northern Ireland could allow five or six households to meet together over the festive period.

On November 26, the Scottish Government set a cap of eight people over 12 years old for Christmas gatherings. They also emphasised that households should remain two meters apart whilst inside. 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also suggested that families give each other vouchers for Christmas, for health and economic reasons, and warned that on Thursday she will tighten Christmas restrictions around the edges. 

As it stands, three households may meet indoors, outdoors or in a place of worship at Christmas, so long as they do not meet with any others and do not meet together in pubs, restaurants and entertainment venues.

Hugging will be permitted, care home residents under the age of 65 can visit relatives, and Christmas church services may be held.

Travel restrictions between levels will be lifted, but until December 23 people in Level 3 and 4 face fines for venturing outside their council areas.

More than two million Scots found themselves in Level 4 restrictions on Friday November 27, which are equivalent to an English lockdown and will remain in place for three weeks.

Scotland has its own lockdown rules, and in a further blow to the country's hospitality industry, pubs and restaurants are set to face significant further restrictions under the newly revealed plans

Now, 11 local authority areas across central and western Scotland, including Glasgow, have shut non-essential shops, businesses, pubs, restaurants and gyms - but schools remain open.

The Level 4 restrictions have been imposed in East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire, North and South Lanarkshire, East and South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian.

On November 13, Fife, Angus, Perth and Kinross moved up to level 3, whilst indoor household meetings between up to six people from two households were allowed again in Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles.

East Lothian and Midlothian moved down from Level 3 to 2 on November 24, allowing pubs and restaurants to serve alcohol with meals and their residents to travel to Level 1 and 2 areas. 

Can I travel to Scotland after lockdown?

Under Scottish regulations you must not travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK unless you have a reasonable excuse, such as for work, education or essential shopping.

These rules, which will be kept under review, mean you cannot travel to Scotland for non-essential reasons after the lockdown ends in England tomorrow.

Other exceptions include travel for healthcare, childcare or shared parenting, and a full list can be found on the Scottish Government website.

What are the new levels?

The five-level system sees Scottish council areas subject to different limitations based on the infection rate.

Scotland as a whole is subject to general rules, such as remote working where possible, mandatory masks on public transport, and a ban on non-essential travel to or from level 3+ areas.

Level 0 (low)

Level 0 will see the most lenient restrictions applied to low-risk areas in Scotland.

Indoor household mixing will be permitted in homes and public places up to a maximum of eight people from three households. Socialising will be permitted outdoors up to a maximum of 15 people from five households.

Hospitality venues will be permitted to open at normal licensing times, although social distancing rules will still apply. 

Hotel-stays will be permitted. However, non-essential travel to/from level 3+ areas in the UK will be prohibited.

Non-essential shops, hairdressers, cinemas and libraries will remain open.

Gyms will remain open and all sports will be permitted.

Weddings, funerals and places of worship will be limited to a maximum of 50 people.

Outdoor and indoor events will be permitted with restricted numbers with the exception of indoor grouped standing events.

Level 1

Indoor household mixing will be prohibited, barring exceptions such as caring duties. Socialising will be permitted outdoors and in public places up to a limit of six people from two households.

Indoor and outdoor hospitality establishments will remain open until 10.30pm (9.30pm last entry).

Hotel stays will be permitted. However, non-essential travel to/from level 3+ areas in the UK will be prohibited.

Non-essential shops, hairdressers, cinemas and libraries will remain open.

Gyms will remain open and all sports will be permitted, with the exception of indoor contact sports played by over-18s.

Weddings and funerals will be limited to a maximum of 20 people and places of worship will be restricted to a maximum of 50 people.

Seated indoor/outdoor events will be permitted with restricted numbers, but grouped standing events will not be permitted. 

Level 2

Restrictions on socialising will remain unchanged from level 1.

Indoor hospitality establishments will close at 8pm (7pm last entry) and alcohol may only be served with a main meal. Outdoor hospitality venues may remain open until 10.30pm (9.30pm last entry).

Hotel stays will be permitted, but non-essential travel to/from level 3+ areas in the UK will be prohibited.

Non-essential shops, hairdressers, cinemas and libraries will remain open.

Gyms will remain open and all sports will be permitted, with the exception of indoor contact sports played by over-18s.

Weddings and funerals will be limited to a maximum of 20 people and places of worship will be restricted to a maximum of 50 people.

Level 3

Restrictions on socialising will remain unchanged from level 2, but the maximum number of people at weddings, funerals and religious ceremonies will be capped at 20.

There will be further limits on public venues with closures of cinemas, arcades and bingo halls. Drive-in events will also be banned.

Hospitality establishments will be prohibited from selling alcohol and will close at 6pm (last entry at 5pm). Non-essential shops and hairdressers will remain open.

Gyms will remain open but indoor exercise will be limited to individual workouts. Outdoor exercise will be limited to non-contact sport with the exception of under-18s. Professional sport will continue.

Hotel-stays will be permitted where essential. Non-essential hotel stays will be permitted for locals only.  

Level 4 (very high)

Scots in areas with severe Covid-19 outbreaks will be placed into near-full lockdowns, with restrictions on travel and instructions to stay at home.

Restrictions on socialising remain the same as in level 3 areas, but Ms Sturgeon advised people to stay at home as much as possible. 

Non-essential shops and hospitality establishments will closed without exception.

Hairdressers and other close contact services (for example, beauticians) will close.

Homeworking is advised for all sectors with the exception of essential work, outdoor work, construction and manufacturing jobs.

Non-essential travel into or out of level 4 areas will be prohibited and public transport should only be used when essential.

Gyms will close and outdoor sports will be restricted to non-contact games. However, professional sports are allowed to continue.

Informal childcare is permitted for the children of key workers, and formal childcare will be subjected to "targeted intervention.

Which areas are in which tier?

The five-tier system assigns a level of restrictions in each of Scotland's 32 local authority areas from zero to four.

Level 0

No local authorities will be in level 0 (the most lenient tier) from November 2.

Level 1

Five local authorities are subject to level 1 restrictions:

  • Highland
  • Moray
  • Orkney
  • Shetland
  • Western Isles

Level 2

Seven local authorities have been assigned to level 2, and East Lothian and Mid Lothian will move from Level 3 to 2 next Tuesday, November 24:

  • Aberdeen
  • Aberdeenshire
  • Argyll & Bute
  • East Lothian
  • Mid Lothian
  • Scottish Borders
  • Dumfries & Galloway

Level 3

9 local authorities are classified as level 3:

  • Fife
  • Angus 
  • Perth & Kinross
  • North Ayrshire
  • Inverclyde
  • City of Edinburgh
  • Clackmannanshire 
  • Falkirk
  • Dundee 

Level 4

 11 local authorities moved into Tier 4 

  • City of Glasgow 
  • Renfrewshire 
  • East Renfrewshire
  • East Dunbartonshire 
  • West Dunbartonshire 
  • North Lanarkshire 
  • South Lanarkshire 
  • East Ayrshire 
  • South Ayrshire 
  • Stirling 
  • West Lothian