The latest easing of Covid restrictions has left many Scots desperate to take a break and book a staycation this spring.

As a result of the reduction of coronavirus cases, there are no restrictions on travel within Scotland, but other rules and guidance are in place that may affect your travel plans.

However, household mixing rules still apply, so for example, you can stay overnight away from home, for example in self-catered accommodation, in a hotel, or a B&B, but only with members of your own household or extended household.

Here's what it means for your holiday plans:

HeraldScotland:

Can I go on my planned domestic holiday?

All tourist accommodation is due to re-open on 26 April (hotels, B&Bs, self-catering, caravan, and camping sites), in line with sector guidance.

However, sharing self-catered accommodation with another household is not permitted initially (under Level 3 rules).

The rules on sharing accommodation are aligned with the in-house private socialising rules.

Can I stay with my friends?

You cannot stay overnight with family or friends in a private house unless they are part of your extended household.

How many people can stay in the accommodation?

It should only be your own household as multiple households must not share self-catering accommodation.

Can two families stay in adjacent self-catering properties?

Yes, two families could stay in two adjacent self-catering cottages as these are two houses.

They must follow the appropriate in-house socialising rules, which means they can only socialise outdoors, and must follow the limits on numbers.   

What if my area moves to a different level?

The Strategic Framework Protection Levels will continue to apply as we move forward. So if you are in a Level 3 area, you can move freely across other Level 3 areas.

But if an area should move into Level 4 – travel would not be permitted to that area, nor would travel be permitted to lower level areas (Levels 0, 1, and 2), unless it is for essential reasons.

Similarly, non-essential travel to/from other parts of the UK, which would affect holiday travel, may also need to be restricted in the future, to deal with local outbreaks, however, this will depend on the course of the pandemic.

Can I go on day trips, or to a visitor attraction?

Yes, you can.

Day trips are permitted, allowing people to travel within Scotland to meet family and friends outdoors in groups of up to six people from six households socially, for recreation, and for exercise.

Visitor attractions, hospitality, and the tourist accommodation sector also reopened on Monday 26 April. 

When taking a day trip or visiting an attraction you should keep to the rules on household mixing, physical distancing, and hygiene at all times.

HeraldScotland:

What about travelling to the Scottish islands?

To reduce the risk of coronavirus being brought into island communities by people who are unaware they are infectious, you are encouraged to test before they arrive.

This is a voluntary scheme and you will not need evidence of a negative test to travel to a Scottish island.

However, we would encourage you to participate in order to reduce the risk that you inadvertently carry coronavirus into one of our island communities.

You can order rapid lateral flow tests for delivery to your home anywhere in the UK and they should arrive within 24-48 hours.

It is recommended that you test three days before you plan to travel and then again on the day of departure.

If you test positive, you should complete your period of self-isolation before you begin your journey.   

Please note that if your test result is negative, this is not a guarantee that you do not have coronavirus.

You must continue to follow national and local restrictions, including FACTS guidance.

If you develop coronavirus symptoms you must self-isolate and book a PCR test.

Travelling to and from other parts of the UK

You can travel to England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands - before you travel you must check the travel rules in those countries.

You can stay in tourist accommodation but should not stay in someone else's house.

Can I travel outside of the UK? 

You must not travel into or out of Scotland from outside the UK without an essential reason.

HeraldScotland:

What about campsites and caravan parks?

The same rules apply to all types of accommodation, whether a campsite, yurt, railway carriage, treehouse, or castle.

When will these rules change?

On 17 May it is hoped that the move to Level 2 will allow the re-introduction of in-home socialising for up to four people from up to two households.

By early June (Level 1) that will increase to up to six people from three households will be able to socialise indoors in a home or within tourist accommodation.

However, such easings will be contingent on the scientific data and continued suppression of the virus.

Rules for car and vehicle sharing

You should not share a vehicle with anyone from another household unless you absolutely have to.  It is recognised that people with additional support needs may need to car share and in these circumstances, they should also follow the appropriate measures, steps, and precautions where possible.

If you absolutely have to share a car journey with anyone from another household, you should take the following steps and precautions:

  • If sharing a vehicle with anyone from another household, limit the number of people in the vehicle to as few as possible, ideally no more than two (applies to adults and children aged 12 and over)
  • Use the biggest vehicle available for car-sharing purposes.
  • Occupants should sit as far apart as possible.  Ideally, a passenger should sit in the back seat diagonally opposite the driver, aiming for two-metre distancing between occupants.
  • Windows in the car should be opened as far as possible taking into account weather conditions to improve ventilation in the space.
  • Occupants in the car, including the driver, should wear a face-covering provided it does not compromise driver safety in any way.
  • Occupants should perform hand hygiene before entering the vehicle and again on leaving the vehicle.
  • Occupants should avoid eating in the vehicle.
  • Passengers in the vehicle should minimise any surfaces touched.
  • Keep the volume of any music/radio to a minimum to prevent the need to raise voices in the car.
  • The longer the journey, the higher the risk; keep journey times to the minimum feasible and do not linger in the vehicle before or after the journey itself
  • Where non-household members are car-sharing, the car must be cleaned regularly (at least daily) and particular attention should be paid to high-risk touchpoints such as door handles, electronic buttons and seat belts. General-purpose detergent is sufficient unless asymptomatic or confirmed case of Covid-19 has been in the vehicle in which case a disinfectant (e.g. chlorine-based product) should be used.

HeraldScotland:

What can I do if I have concerns about a business not following guidelines? 

In order to ensure compliance we have invested additional resources to increase the number of Environmental Health Officers and are working closely with Police Scotland to engage with the public, explain the rules and guidance, encourage compliance and, where necessary, enforce them. 

If you have concerns about a business not complying with the guidance you should contact your Local Authority’s Environmental Health Team, who will then contact the business to provide advice.

Any concerns you have around groups not adhering to the social distancing regulations can be raised with police locally.

Police Scotland has made clear that where officers encounter wilful and persistent breaches, they will act decisively to enforce the law. 

Police Scotland have advised that anyone can report a possible breach of the Coronavirus Regulations through their online reporting tool - Covid-19 Reporting form | Police Scotland, or by dialling 101 (for non-emergencies).