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Further relaxation of restrictions across Scotland

Tue 20 Apr 21

The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has confirmed that tourist accommodation and hospitality venues can begin to reopen as planned from Monday 26 April. Scotland will move into level three and will see a significant reopening of the Scottish economy.

It’s then expected that all of Scotland will move to level two on Monday 17 May. That means, for example, that from that date, people will be able to meet in small numbers in each other’s homes, hospitality will reopen more fully, and outdoor contact sport for adults will resume.

Then, if circumstances permit, the First Minister confirmed that we will move to level one on Monday 7 June, before moving to level zero by the end of that month.

Tourism and hospitality guidance

From Monday 26 April:

  • Tourist accommodation can reopen. However, in self-catering accommodation, the rules on indoor meetings still apply. This means that, until 17 May, two households cannot stay in the same accommodation.
  • Hospitality venues like cafés, pubs and restaurants can reopen. In outdoor settings, opening hours will be determined by local licensing laws.
  • Alcohol can be served outdoors, and people will be able to meet in groups of up to six, from up to six different households.
  • Cafés, pubs and restaurants can serve indoors until 8pm – but they are not yet able serve alcohol.
  • Up to six people will be allowed to meet indoors – however they must come from a maximum of two households.
  • The requirements on physical distancing for hospitality have not changed from those in place previously.
  • Venues must now take down contact details for all of their customers – rather than simply for the lead member of each household
  • It will be possible to collect takeaway food indoors – rather than having to collect it from a hatch or window.
  • The attendance limit at funerals and weddings – and related events such as receptions – will increase from 20 to 50.
  • Indoor attractions and public buildings, such as galleries, museums and libraries, can reopen.
  • Remaining travel restrictions will be lifted on 26 April for travel anywhere in Scotland, and for travel between Scotland, England and Wales.

The Scottish Government has now published updated guidance for tourism and hospitality. Make sure you check out the FAQ section, which has a host of further, useful information. Read the guidance.

Multi-sector guidance on collection of customer and visitor contact details

The Scottish Government has updated this guidance, in advance of reopenings during spring 2021, to request the collection of the name and contact details for every visitor to premises, to create consistency across the range of settings where this is requested or mandated in Scotland, and at the same time ensure that relevant data is captured to assist the Test and Protect contact tracing service.

Read the Test and Protect guidance.

Travel restrictions

From 16 April we have all been able to travel freely throughout Scotland (with no overnight stays). It has been confirmed all remaining travel restrictions will be lifted on 26 April for travel anywhere in Scotland, and for travel between Scotland, England and Wales.

The Scottish Government will also remove restrictions on travel to and from Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man - though people should check the rules on entry to each of those territories before they travel.

International travel for non-essential purposes is not yet permitted. The Scottish Government is continuing to work with the UK government to agree a common approach to international travel after 17 May. Until 17 May – and possibly for a period after that – you should not be leaving the UK for non-essential purposes.

Pre-departure coronavirus testing

To reduce the risk of coronavirus being brought into island communities by people who are unaware they are infectious, the Scottish Government is encouraging anyone planning to travel to a Scottish island to test before they do so. 

People can order rapid lateral flow tests for delivery to their home anywhere in the UK and they should arrive within 24 - 48 hours. The Scottish Government recommends that people test three days before they plan to travel and then again on the day of departure.  If they test positive, this will allow the person to self-isolate before they begin their journey.   

Please note that if a test result is negative, this is not a guarantee that they do not have coronavirus.  People must continue to follow national and local restrictions, including FACTS guidance.  If they develop coronavirus symptoms they must self-isolate and book a PCR test.

This is a voluntary scheme and visitors will not need evidence of a negative test to travel to a Scottish island.  However, the Scottish Government would encourage that people do participate in order to reduce the risk that they inadvertently carry coronavirus into one of our island communities.   

Pre-departure testing covers travel to all Scottish islands. For more information go to:

Further information

Updated Strategic Framework Protection Level tables can be downloaded at Coronavirus (COVID-19): local protection levels - (

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