What are the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Rules in Scotland Right Now?

Last Updated on 06/10/2022 at 10:45

All of the COVID-19 rules and restrictions have been lifted in Scotland, but the virus has not gone away. Take a look at this page for the latest information, public health advice and news that impacts young people. 

Click on items in the list below to skip to the most up to date information on coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention, symptoms and restrictions in Scotland.

What's the current advice on...?

Preventing COVID-19

The Scottish Government's advice on what we should do to stay safe is:

  • get the vaccine or the vaccine booster
  • open windows when meeting indoors
  • wear a face-covering where suggested in indoor public spaces and on public transport
  • wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, and cover your nose and mouth if coughing or sneezing
  • if you have symptoms - stay at home and rest.

Symptoms of COVID-19

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

The symptoms are very similar to symptoms of other illnesses, such as colds and flu.

Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.

When to stay at home

You should stay at home and avoid contact with other people if:

  • you have symptoms of a respiratory infection such as coronavirus and,
  • have a high temperature or do not feel well enough to go to work or carry out normal activities.

Symptoms of coronavirus or other common respiratory infections include:

  • continuous cough,
  • high temperature, fever or chills,
  • loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell,
  • shortness of breath,
  • unexplained tiredness, lack of energy,
  • muscle aches or pains that are not due to exercise,
  • not wanting to eat or not feeling hungry,
  • headache that's unusual or longer lasting than usual,
  • sore throat, stuffy or runny nose,
  • diarrhoea,
  • feeling sick or being sick.

Children and young people with mild symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, or slight cough, who are otherwise well, do not need to stay at home and can continue to attend education settings.

However, if you are unwell and have a high temperature, public health advice is to stay at home until you no longer have a fever and you feel well enough to attend.

You can find more information on the NHS Inform site.

Getting tested for COVID-19

Free COVID-19 testing has ended for most people in Scotland with and without coronavirus symptoms.

You can still access testing if:

If you're a health and social care worker, you should access testing through your organisation if you have symptoms.

If you have received a positive test result and have been self-isolating, you do not need to continue with any further testing unless you have been advised to do so by a health professional.

You do not need to have a negative test result to end self-isolation, follow the stay at home advice.

If you are a low-income worker and require financial support to isolate or stay at home as advised, find out more about the Scottish Government's self-isolation grant.

For the latest information on what to do if you have COVID-19, including eligibility for testing, visit NHS Inform.

Getting your vaccination

Anyone aged 18+ can visit a drop-in centre for vaccination or book an appointment on the registration portal for your first vaccine. The drop-in service will be available to anyone who hasn't received their first dose yet or if it's been over 8 weeks since your first dose. You can still use this service if you already have an appointment for a vaccine booked or if you've not received any appointment so far.

You will be able to go to the most convenient drop-in clinic for you regardless of where you are registered.

Find out where your local vaccination drop-in service is by visiting NHS Inform.

As of November 2021, young people aged 16 and 17 will be eligible for a second dose of the vaccine, as per the latest updates from the JCVI.

Young people aged 5 - 11

On the 18th January, the First Minister announced that those aged 5 - 11 who are classed as clinically at risk, or are a household contact of a clinically at-risk person, would be offered their first dose of the vaccine. Those eligible will not be able to book their vaccination through NHS Inform but will be contacted by letter. 

On the 16th February, the Scottish Government announced they will offer all 5 to 11 year olds a COVID-19 vaccine. This does not affect children who are at higher risk of the virus and are already being vaccinated. Parents and carers of children in this age group do not need to do anything as more information will be announced when plans are finalised.

Young people aged 12 to 15

Young people aged 12 to 15 will be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and should have received a letter about this or been able to visit a drop-in clinic for the first dose. Following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI), you will now be able to get a second dose of the vaccine. 

From Monday 3rd January, young people aged 12 to 15 can attend drop-in clinics to get their second dose, as long as it’s been at least 12 weeks since your first dose. If you have already received an appointment letter with a specific date and time; you, a parent or guardian can also call the national vaccination helpline on 0800 030 8013 to bring an appointment forward. Find your nearest drop-in clinic on nhsinform.scot

You will be supported with the information needed to help you make an informed decision about getting vaccinated, you should look at this information and speak about the decision with your parents and carers to help you make a decision that is right for you.

Visit our vaccine page for more information and to hear from other young people about their vaccine experiences.

Booster Programme

The Scottish Government aim for all eligible adults (aged 18 and over) in Scotland to have been offered an appointment for their booster vaccination by the 31st of December 2021. This might mean that your booster vaccination appointment is in January but it's important to get your booster vaccination to help prevent the rising cases of the Omicron variant. 

From the 15th of December, all people aged 18 or over who have received their second vaccine dose will be able to book in for their booster vaccination. You can find out how to book your booster vaccination by visiting NHS Inform.

On the 18th of January, the First Minister announced that people aged 12 - 15 who are classed as clinically at risk, or a household contact of a clinically at-risk person, will be offered their booster. Those eligible will not be able to book their vaccination through NHS Inform but will be contacted by letter.

Wearing face coverings

Wearing a face covering or mask can help prevent catching coronavirus, and passing it on to others.

As of Monday 18th April 2022, there is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face-covering anywhere in Scotland. Although it is no longer a legal requirement, public advice is to continue to wear a face-covering in indoor public spaces and on public transport. 

Vaccine Certification Scheme

The Vaccine Certification Scheme in Scotland ended on 28th of February 2022. The app is still operational for venues who want to use it on a voluntary basis.

The scheme allows you to show proof that you have been fully vaccinated or, have had a recent negative lateral flow test to enter venues which request this.

As of Monday the 17th of January 2022 the definition of 'fully vaccinated' changed to include a booster, if you are eligible and had a second vaccine dose over 4 months before.

Currently, you can request proof of vaccination from the NHS either digitally or on a paper copy where a QR code holds the information that you have had both vaccine doses. An NHS app is also available to download where you can download this information as a QR code.

You can also get a copy of your vaccine status by phoning the COVID-19 Status Helpline on 0808 196 8565. The helpline is open every day from 10:00am to 6:00pm. You should only request your vaccination status over the phone if you're unable to download a PDF version.

If you're requesting a printed copy of your vaccination status please allow 14 days for it to arrive.

For International Travel

Some countries may require proof of vaccination for international travel or recovery from coronavirus. On the NHS Covid Status app, available for Apple and Android, you can select 'international mode' by clicking on the aeroplane logo, and this can be used to prove your status.

The app also shows details of PCR test results you've had through the NHS. Some countries may accept a private, supervised LFD test result.

You should follow the entry requirements of the country you're travelling to. Check these on the gov.uk site.

Visiting shops and supermarkets

Face coverings in this setting are no longer legally required as of Monday 18th April 2022. Although it is no longer a legal requirement, public advice is to continue to wear a face-covering in indoor public spaces, such as shops.  

Visiting restaurants, pubs and cafes and other hospitality venues

Face coverings in this setting are no longer legally required as of Monday 18th April 2022. Although it is no longer a legal requirement, public advice is to continue to wear a face-covering in indoor public spaces, such as shops.  

What if you're high or extremely high-risk

If you're at more of a risk of being seriously ill with COVID-19, then you may be categorised as being at high risk or extremely high risk, and may be taking your own extra precautions, or have been asked by the Scottish Government to 'shield' in the past. Scotland's High Risk List is ending on 31st May, as a result of the success of the vaccination programme and the introduction of new treatments for COVID-19.

If you're worried or anxious about the end of the list, we've put together some information and tips as part of our #AyeFeel page specifically for people who are on the High Risk List. 

Find out more about the ending of the High Risk List on the Scottish Government website.

Find out what might make you high or extremely high risk in our Coronavirus Jargonbuster.

More information from Young Scot on Coronavirus (COVID-19)