Coronavirus / Covid-19 situation in Scotland
Update 26 September 2021
Please note this following information applies to Scotland. The situation is different in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
From 9 August 2021, the majority of Covid restrictions in Scotland have been lifted. Please note - mask wearing in shops, bars, restaurants, indoor attractions and public transport will still be in place for the foreseeable future.
Travel is permitted between Scotland and England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. There are some restrictions on travel from other countries (see below).
Tourist accommodation is operating normally.
To protect our island communities, all visitors are encouraged to take a Covid test before travelling to any Scottish islands. Free tests can be ordered for delivery to anyone in the UK. The Scottish Government recommends that people test 3 days before they plan to travel and then again on the day of departure. This is a voluntary scheme and visitors will not need evidence of a negative test to travel to a Scottish island. For more information on voluntary testing please click here.
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 12 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 12 and for those for whom a covering is inappropriate due to health reasons (see full guidance).
Advance booking of trains and ferries is recommended.
Pubs, cafes and restaurants
All hospitality venues are allowed to open indoors and outdoors. Face covering must be worn inside when you are not seated. Venues are obliged to collect the contact details of customers to help with Test and Protect.
Arriving into the UK from abroad
The UK 'traffic light' system for international travel with Green, Amber and Red countries is changing on 4 October 2021 such that there will only be a Red list, and the current restrictions for Amber countries will become the default for travellers from non-red countries, with eligible fully vaccinated travellers able to benefit from quarantine-free travel.
Currently, arrivals from all destinations are required to take a Covid test before leaving their country of origin and follow the requirements listed below depending on their country of departure.
- Arriving from a Red list country - you are required to enter a managed isolation hotel and stay there for 10 days. You must also take a PCR test on days 2 and 8 after arrival.
- Arriving from an Amber list country - you must self-isolate at home for 10 days and take PCR tests on days 2 and 8.
Exceptions - people arriving from certain countries who can show proof of being fully vaccinated will no longer have to self-isolate on arrival (but must still take a test on day 2). Separate rules apply for children.
Anyone testing positive for or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 will still be required to isolate for 10 days.
- Arriving from a Green list country - you are required to take a PCR test PCR test on day 2 of arrival.
See the latest Scottish Government Covid travel information for the full details for each scenario.
See the Green, Amber, Red list countries.
For additional info, see the VisitScotland Travel to Scotland FAQ.
VisitScotland has a handy list which summarises the current situation and regulations in Scotland.
Some tourist attractions may still 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.
Please check with individual event operators before planning to travel to any events in 2021.
From 1 October 2021, Scotland intends to introduce requirements to provide a Covid vaccine certificate for entry to nightclubs and certain big events.
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.