What Phase Are We in and What Does It Mean?

Last updated 22/09/2020 at 16:56

Scotland has a road map for how we will start to come out of lockdown. But what phase are we currently in and what does it mean you can do?

Remember, if you have symptoms of coronavirus or have been asked to self-isolate by a contact tracer or the Protect Scotland app (because you've come into contact with someone with coronavirus) you should self-isolate and follow guidance as per NHS Inform advice.

We are in Phase Three of the Scottish Government's road map

In Phase Three, changes are happening over time. In this phase, there will be a focus on containing local lockdowns and tightening nationwide restrictions where necessary. 

The following restrictions are in place during Phase Three from 23rd September:

  • Visiting other households or having people visit your household is not allowed. Exemptions to this include if you live alone or alone with children and have formed part of an extended household, if you're in a relationship with someone and you both live on your own, if you're a tradesperson, or if you require care at home from someone outside of your household.
  • Outside, you can meet one other household, in a maximum group of six people (including yourself), this includes spaces such as in the street, in parks or private gardens. You should physically distance from people not in your household;
    • Children 12 and under do not count towards the group size and do not have to distance;
    • Young people aged 12-18 can only meet in groups of up to six outside but do not have to comply with the two-household rule (for example, you could meet with five friends from five other households but will still need to physically distance);
  • Face coverings are mandatory on public transport, in shops, libraries, museums, places of worship, at secondary schools in certain areas and when moving around hospitality venues (for example, when you're arriving, leaving, going to the bathroom);
  • Working from home should continue wherever possible.

Shielding guidelines paused from 1st August, this means people who've been shielding can follow general public health guidance.

Phase Three Changes in July to September

During this time a range of businesses have been able to re-open with a range of additional hygiene and physical distancing measures in place.

Remember: lockdown isn't completely over, some restrictions have just been eased off.  You should still continue to practice physical distancing and wash your hands - the virus has not gone away.

What's open and what can you do?

Lots of businesses across Scotland have started to re-open with enhanced safety and hygiene measures, this includes pubs, bars, restaurants, museums, visitors attractions, holiday accommodation, beauty salons and retail shops. All of these businesses are taking additional precautions to ensure they're safe, this includes things like having to pre-book, one way systems, screens and availability of hand sanitiser. If you're planning on visiting somewhere, check their website, social media or give them a call to find out if you need to book. 

If you're visiting an indoor public space, you can meet up with up to one other household in a maximum group of six (including yourself). In these places, anyone under the age of 12 from your or the other household that are part of your group, do not count towards the limit of six people who can meet. You should make sure you stay physically distant from people from other another household at all times, which means you will need to stay two metres apart from your friends.

Schools opened again on 11th August, find out more about how to keep safe at school or take a look at our frequently asked questions article. 

Funerals, marriages, and civil partnerships are still limited to 20 people, but funeral wakes and receptions can take place at venues with strict measures in place, such as hotels and venues that follow the Scottish Government guidance.

People of all ages can take part in organised outdoor contact sports and youth work can continue following guidelines produced by the Scottish Government.

If you're visiting somewhere and driving, you shouldn't share a car with another household as it's difficult to physically distance. 

On the 22nd September the First Minister announced the number of positive cases was rising, the R number was above 1 and tighter restrictions will be introduced in order to suppress the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The main changes are for hospitality venues and household gatherings. What changes are coming in and what might happen next are detailed below. 

From 25th September 

Hospitality venues such as cafes, pubs, bars, and restaurants will have a curfew of 10pm. This means they will close at 10pm and last orders will likely be processed around or after 9pm. From Friday the 25th of September police will have the power to close venues not adhering to guidance. This includes group sizes over 6 people, enhanced hygiene measures, and distancing.

It will be mandatory to wear a face covering when moving around the venue. For example when visiting the toilet or when entering or leaving the venue. It is also mandatory for staff to wear a face covering while working.

What's next?

Restrictions that were previously expected to be lifted on October 1st are now paused and the decision will be revisited on October 13th. However, changes may happen before 13th October and/or the existing restrictions may be in place for longer than three weeks. 

If you're shielding

From 1st August, the Scottish Government announced that there will be a pause on shielding. This means from 1st August, you should follow the advice for the rest of the population and continue to keep good hygiene measures. This guide from the Scottish Government has lots of advice on how to keep safe whilst seeing family and friends, going shopping, using public transport and more.

Phase Four

In this phase, the virus remains under control to very low levels and is no longer considered a significant threat to everyone's health, but you will still need to stay safe and practice good hygiene. In this final stage, the following will be looked at: 

  • Further relaxation on restrictions on being able to see family and friends - but it will still be important to practice good hygiene;
  • Public transport operating a full service. Physical distancing may remain in place, subject to scientific advice;
  • Schools and childcare provision operating with any necessary precautions;
  • College and university campuses fully open with any necessary precautions;
  • Remote and flexible working to still be encouraged, but all types of workplaces would be open in line with public health advice;
  • All types of shops, restaurants and bars would be open in line with public health advice. Shopping in your local area will still be encouraged however;
  • Further relaxation of restrictions on live events in line with public health advice;
  • All ceremonies (weddings, civil partnerships, funerals, etc) will be able to take place with any necessary precautions.
  • The full range of health and social care services will be provided with greater use of technology.

If you become unwell

If you begin to have symptoms, you and all members in your household (whether they have symptoms or not), must self-isolate. This should be done even if you haven't been tested for coronavirus (COVID-19). Find out more about getting tested on the NHS Inform website, testing is now available to everyone living in Scotland aged 5 and over.

If you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you will be informed and asked to self-isolate for 14 days. However the rest of your household doesn't need to self-isolate unless they have also been contacted. Find out how to self-isolate on the NHS Inform website. 

Go back to the coronavirus landing page.