In the most recent Scottish Government coronavirus update on Tuesday, the Deputy First Minister John Swinney hinted that new Covid-19 measures could be imposed following a rise in the number of infections as we head into the winter months.

Mr Swinney told MSPs that Scotland’s NHS services are currently “under intense pressure”.

While the number of hospital and ICU admissions has fallen in recent weeks, he said that strengthening Covid restrictions had not been ruled out.

Outlining reasons as to why case numbers may rise during the winter months, he mentioned time spent indoors in winter, COP26, and visiting family over the Christmas period.

Mr Swinney said: “We certainly want to avoid the sort of strict lockdowns we had seen before most of us were vaccinated - we do not want to repeat the sort of disruption to our daily lives, businesses and the economy that had been required at the earlier stage in the pandemic.

“But we do need to take appropriate measures to keep the pandemic under control.

“It is because we want to avoid more difficult restrictions that we cannot rule out strengthening the baseline protective measures currently in place as the best way to head off any prospect of future lockdowns.”

The Deputy First Minister hinted at a number of changes being considered by the Scottish Government ahead of its three-weekly review next Tuesday.

Here are five considerations being made by the Scottish Government.

Covid passport scheme

Mr Swinney advised that said that the vaccine passport scheme may be extended to include indoor hospitality and leisure settings.

At the moment, Scots only need to show evidence that they have received at least two doses of the vaccine before entering large events, nightclubs and some football stadiums.

He said options will be discussed with business sectors over the coming days, before a decision is taken. 

Dr Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, called on ministers to "urgently get round the table with businesses to demonstrate the evidence for ramping up restrictions", adding that the plans risk derailing economic growth.

Face coverings

Expanding the requirement to wear face coverings in Scotland is also being considered.

Under the current rules, Scots are required to wear a face mask on public transport, inside hospitality venues, shopping centres, supermarkets and a range of other indoor public buildings.

However, Mr Swinney did not go into detail into the places where people might be required to wear a face covering.

Booster vaccines

Booster jabs are being rolled out across Scotland as we head into the second winter with Covid-19. 

The booster scheme means that certain groups will get a third dose of the Covid vaccine, in an attempt to boost immunity to the virus throughout winter. 

One million people in Scotland have received a booster dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

Mr Swinney added that the government is exploring ways to increase the capacity further which could include the establishment of additional clinics and potential providing vaccines at evenings and weekends.

Home working

The Scottish Government currently recommends that Scots continue to work from home or do a mixture of office and remote working if possible.

Over the winter months, officials are said to be considering what they can do to “increase home working”.


The Scottish Government is also looking at ways to improve ventilation as people spend more time indoors during the winter months.