Coronavirus / Covid-19 situation in Scotland
Update 15 June 2021
Please note this following information applies to Scotland. The situation is different in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
From 26 April 2021, all tourist accommodation in Scotland can re-open, as well as pubs, restaurants, museums and visitor attractions. Travel is permitted between Scotland and England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Temporary restrictions on travel between Scotland and 3 places in England (Bedford, Blackburn with Darwen, and Bolton) came into force from Monday 24 May 2021 when travel is only allowed for permitted reasons (e.g. work or education).
Scotland operates a system of Levels (or tiers).
From 5 June 2021, these are as follows:
- Level 0 - Orkney, Shetland, Western Isles, all islands in Highland (except Skye) and the following islands within Argyll and Bute: Coll, Colonsay, Erraid, Gometra, Iona, Islay, Jura, Mull, Oronsay, Tiree and Ulva.
- Level 1 - the Highlands, Argyll and Bute, Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, Moray, Perth and Perthshire, East and West Lothian, Dumfries and Galloway, Falkirk, Fife, Inverclyde, West Dunbartonshire, and the Borders.
- Level 2 - Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Stirling, Midlothian, East Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, Clackmannanshire, North and South Lanarkshire, and North, South and East Ayrshire.
Further changes to Levels are due to be announced later in June with hopefully some further easing of restrictions by mid July 2021.
Tourist accommodation can re-open from 26th April 2021 including B&Bs and hotels (with one 'household' staying in each bedroom). Self catering accommodation capacity will be restricted in line with rules on indoor gathering (this means only one 'household' per property until 17 May when 6 people from 3 households can stay in the same self catering accommodation).
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 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
All hospitality venues are allowed to open indoors and outdoors. Certain restrictions on numbers and opening times may apply.
Arriving into the UK from abroad
The UK is now operating a 'traffic light' system for international travel with Green, Amber and Red countries. Arrivals from all destinations are required to take a Covid test before leaving their country of origin, and should also be tested again on or before day 2 of entering the UK.
New rules will be in place from 17 May 2021:
Arriving from a Red list country - you are required to enter a managed isolation hotel and stay there for 10 days.
Arriving from an Amber list country - you must self-isolate at home for 10 days, and take two PCR tests during this period.
Arriving from a Green list country - you are required to take a PCR test for COVID-19.
The Green List for Scotland will initially be the same as that in place for England but will be subject to review. Reviews usually take place every 3 weeks.
See the Green, Amber, Red list countries.
See the latest Scottish Government Covid travel information.
For additional info, see the VisitScotland Travel to Scotland FAQ.
VisitScotland has a handy list which summarises the current situation and regulations in Scotland.
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.