Coronavirus / Covid-19 situation in Scotland
Update 2 April 2021
Please note this following information applies to Scotland. The situation is different in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Currently, there should be no non-essential travel between Scotland and other parts of the UK. Please see the latest Scottish Government information regarding travel within Scotland, within the UK and internationally.
All of mainland Scotland plus the Western Isles and Skye are in Level 4 lockdown restrictions. This means that holiday accommodation, hospitality businesses, visitor attractions and non-essential shops remain closed. Orkney, Shetland and the Inner Hebrides are in Level 3 of Scotland's Covid Protection Levels.
On 16 March 2021, the Scottish Government announced its timetable for lifting lockdown and re-opening tourism. On 2 April, the 'Stay at Home' requirement was replaced with 'Stay Local' (travel permitted within your local authority area for a non-essential purpose).
It is now expected that on 26 April, travel restrictions within all of mainland Scotland will be lifted and tourist accommodation can re-open (self-catering accommodation capacity will be restricted in line with rules on indoor gathering). Indoor attractions such as museums and galleries can also re-open from this date.
Changes to Lockdown and Levels (indicative dates):
- 26 April - all level 4 areas move to 'modified' level 3. The island communities in level 3 may move down to level 2 (with the possibility of some travel restrictions between the mainland and islands).
- 17 May - hoping that all level 3 areas (or as many as possible) will move to level 2.
- Early June - hoping that all of Scotland will move to level 1
- End of June - hoping that all of Scotland will move to at least level 0.
Scotland operates a system of levels (or tiers) - for more information on levels in Scotland.
Face coverings in Scotland
It is mandatory to wear a face covering in shops, banks and other enclosed areas such as museums, indoor tourist attractions, cinemas and places of worship.
It is also mandatory to wear a face covering inside bars/restaurants when you are not seated (e.g. when entering/leaving the premises or going to the toilet).
Exemptions apply for children under 5 and for those for whom a covering is inappropriate due to health reasons.
You are also required to wear a face covering on public transport (see below).
Please note that it is mandatory to wear a face covering on all public transport (including public areas of bus/train stations and airports) and in taxis. Exemptions apply for children under 5 and for those for whom a covering is inappropriate due to health reasons (see full guidance).
Advance booking of trains and ferries is essential.
Pubs, cafes and restaurants
Certain restrictions will apply in hospitality venues when they are allowed to re-open. Click here for the proposed details (April - June 2021).
Arriving into the UK
Please note that non-essential travel to or from Scotland is currently illegal. We anticipate the travel ban within the UK may be lifted on 26th April, but the international travel restrictions are unlikely to be lifted before at least 17th May 2021.
The current rules on international arrivals from outside the UK mean that people must take a Covid test up to 72 hours before leaving the country they are in. From 15 February 2021, a system of managed quarantine and further testing will operate in the UK until further notice. The quarantine rules in Scotland are different to those for people arriving into England. Please note that passengers entering England from 'red-list' countries seeking to travel onto Scotland would first need to isolate in a hotel in England.
See the latest Scottish Government Covid travel information.
For additional info, see the VisitScotland Travel to Scotland FAQ.
Many museums, art galleries, castles and other attractions will require pre-booking so that visitor numbers can be well managed. Please check before travelling. You will be asked to wear a face covering when inside.
Look for the 'Good to Go' logo for businesses which are Covid Prepared. This is the official UK mark to signal that a tourism and hospitality business has worked hard to follow Government and industry COVID-19 guidelines and has a process in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing.
For medical advice if you are experiencing any symptoms of Coronavirus, please consult the NHS website. Scotland is now operating a 'Test and Protect' strategy.
The Protect Scotland app is available to download for free via Apple and Google stores.
Please note that this information is different to the situation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.