The First Minister has warned that areas in Scotland could move to level four of lockdown next week if "significant" improvements aren’t made to suppress the virus.

Nicola Sturgeon will announce any changes after the weekly review on Tuesday as more than 70% of the country is placed in level 3 of the Scottish Government lockdown strategic framework.

Speaking at the Covid-19 Committee today the First Minister said it was "not enough" to stabilise the number of people testing positive for Covid in Scotland as winter approaches.

She added: "If you take an area down a level you open it up more, which is going to lead to increased transmissions.

"So the judgement has to be - has that area got to a low enough level to cope with that increased transmission."

However, the First Minister said it would be a "big mistake" to allow ourselves to simply take an algorithm driven approach because then you wouldn't take account of travel patterns and that the current framework gives Scotland the flexibility to respond in a targeted and proportionate way.

Ms Sturgeon added that Scotland has "stabilised things at the moment but at a pretty high level." and that we need to suppress the virus rather than just keep it level.

Here’s what could apply:

Can I socialise with my friends and family? 

You cannot visit someone in their home, however you will be allowed to meet outdoors with six people from a maximum of two households.

What rules apply when meeting outside?

  • Minimise the number of meetings you have with people from other households each day.
  • Stay at least 2 metres away from anyone who is not part of your household.
  • Maintain hand and cough hygiene.
  • Avoid touching hard surfaces with your hands.
  • Wash your hands when you arrive, when you leave, when you get home and especially before eating or after touching surfaces.
  • Not share food or utensils – if eating, each household should bring, prepare and eat its own food separately.
  • Access the garden – do so quickly and without touching anything.
  • Use the toilet – avoid touching surfaces with your hands as much as possible, wipe any surfaces that you do touch with antibacterial wipes, wash your hands thoroughly, dry your hands with a freshly laundered towel or a paper towel, which you should dispose of in a closed bin.


Can I form an extended household?

People who live in different places can form an extended household in the following circumstances:

People who live alone

  • If you are an adult and you live alone, or if all others in your household are under 18, you, any children who live with you, and the members of one other household (of any size) can agree to form an 'extended household'. This will allow  people who live alone (or those living only with children under the age of 18) to be considered part of another household in order to reduce loneliness, isolation and to provide mutual social support.

Couples who do not live together

  • Two adults who are in a relationship and they do not live together they, and any children they each live with, can agree to form an 'extended household'.

Do children count towards that number?

Children under the age of 12 from these households do not count towards the total number of people counted in a gathering.

Young people aged between 12 and 17 can meet up in groups of up to 6 at a time outdoors and are not subject to the 2 household limit. 

Can I go to a restaurant or pub?

No, restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars wil be closed.

However, Hotels and other accommodation providers can still serve food to qualifying guests i.e. key or exempt workers, staying in their premises up to 22:00. Room service, including alcohol, is allowed as normal.

Can I get a takeaway?

Takeaways can still operate as normal, provided food and drink is sold for consumption off premises.

Can I go on holiday in Scotland?

No, all holiday accommodation is closed to tourism.

Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering can remain open for essential customers only.

For example: 

  • Anyone who is using that accommodation for work purposes
  • Anyone who requires accommodation to attend a funeral
  • Anyone who is providing accommodation or support services to the homeless
  • Anyone who uses that accommodation as their main residence
  • Anyone who needs accommodation while moving home
  • Anyone who is unable to return to their main residence

Can I travel to health boards?

You should not travel into or out of the level 4 area unless for essential reasons. If necessary, limits on travel distance, or a requirement to stay at home.

There are exemptions for essential travel for work, education, shopping health etc; outdoor exercise; weddings and funerals; and transit through restricted areas.


Can I go on public transport?

No use of public transport, except for essential purposes. You should also use active travel (walk, run, cycle, wheel) where possible, avoid car sharing with people outside extended household wherever possible. Face masks must be worn too.

Can I go to the shops?

Yes, but only essential retail like supermarkets will be able to remain open in Level 4 providing they follow and have implemented Scottish Government guidance to ensure the safety of customers and staff.

Click and collect, on-line services and outdoor retail, such as garden centres, outdoor markets and car lots, can also remain open.

Can I get my haircut or nails done?

No, close contact services and mobile close contact service providers must not operate in Level 4. These include, hairdressing and barbers, beauty parlours, hair removal, tattoo, piercing and body modification, massages etc.

Can I go to the library or a community centre?

No, all public sector buildings such as libraries or community centres will be closed, however, library click and collect services may still operate in Level 4.

However, courts and Tribunals will remain open.

Can I go to the football or live events?

No, all stadia will be closed to spectators and no live events are permitted.

Can I go to my place of worship?

Yes, places of worship are required to take measures to protect individuals, worshippers, staff members and volunteers from infection of Covid-19.

Indoor acts of worship are limited to a maximum of 20 people providing there is sufficient space to maintain safe 2 metre distancing.

Where premises cannot maintain 2 metre distancing the capacity will be reduced.

Outdoor worship can still take place providing it takes place within the grounds of a place of worship with a maximum capacity of 20 people and there is sufficient space for 2 metre distancing.

The 2 metre distance is not required between members of the same household or extended household, or between a carer and the person assisted by the carer.

Can I get married?

Yes, wedding ceremonies and civil partnership registrations can take place with a maximum capacity of 15 people (including the couple, the witnesses and guests) providing the venue’s capacity allows for 2 metre physical distancing. 

However, wedding or civil partnership receptions cannot take place in level 4.

Can I attend a funeral?

Yes, funerals and wakes can take place with a maximum capacity of 20 guests providing the venue’s capacity allows for appropriate physical distancing.​

What about early learning and childcare?

Early learning and childcare can remain open with enhanced and targeted protective measures are in place.

What about informal childcare?

Informal childcare is only permitted for essential workers but you should follow the rules for socialising, and only children should enter the home of another household.

Can schools stay open?

Yes, schools ca stay open but with enhanced and targeted protective measures.

What about universities and colleges?

Colleges and universities can operate using a more restricted mix of face to face and distance learning.

Can I do driving lessons?

No, they are not permitted.

Can I play sports and exercise?

Yes, you are permitted to meet others outdoors, following the rules around meeting other households, for informal exercise or sport.

However, indoor sports facilities are closed but outdoor gyms can remain open.

Outdoor non-contact sports are permitted for all age groups.

Can I go to leisure and entertainment centres?

No, all leisure and entertainment premises must be closed (except for use in limited circumstances).

Can I go to visitor attractions?

All indoor visitor attractions such as museums, galleries, heritage attractions, indoor areas of zoos and aquariums are closed.

Outdoor visitor attractions, such as parks, gardens and the outdoor areas of zoos may remain open, to enable exercise and recreation to be undertaken with appropriate physical distancing in place, but should only be visited in line with travel restrictions.

Visitor attraction’s retail and hospitality facilities will be closed.


What about public services?

It will be essential face-to-face services only but will be online where possible.

What about youth clubs, children's groups etc?

No activities are permitted with the exception of youth work where it is delivered as part of the school day/curriculum.

What about support services?

These will be essential only and online where possible.

Can offices, call centres and other workplaces stay open?

They will be essential only and ideally working from home. 

However, businesses which provide essential services can continue to operate, such as those in the Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) sector, courts and tribunals

What about if I'm shielding?

This is advice, consider which level of protection is right for you.

All levels: We will not ask you to distance from people within your own homes or to stop taking outdoor exercise.

Level 4 shielding

  • Minimise: Contact with people outside your own household if you can. You should not take public transport.
  • Shopping: Strictly follow the guidelines when shopping and limiting the number of times you go to a shop. Shop at quieter times.
  • If you cannot work from home: 

    The majority of workplaces can be made safe. If you have any concerns you should discuss these with your employer.

    However, at this level the Chief Medical Officer will issue a letter which is similar to a fit note and which will last for as long as your area is under Level 4 restrictions. This letter can be used in the few cases where it is not possible to make your workplace safe.

    Please note that this does not automatically mean you should not attend work. You should discuss this further with your employer, and if this results in adequate protection, you can continue to work.