What Phase Are We in and What Does It Mean?

Last updated 09/07/2020 at 13:50

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 (because you've come into contact with someone with coronavirus) you should self-isolate and follow guidance as per NHS Inform advice.

From July 10th, we are in Phase Three

Scotland enters Phase Three on 10th July. Like in Phase Two, changes will happen over time rather than all at the same time. In this phase, some of the lockdown measures will be eased a little further while others will remain in place. It is important to remember that restrictions are in place to help keep us safe, protect others and save lives, it shouldn't feel like we've returned to normal life yet. 

The following restrictions remain unchanged:

  • Physical distancing should continue when meeting other households. Children aged 11 and under do not have to distance and the 2m rule may be relaxed to 1m in some businesses (this will be advised when you enter the business);
  • Face coverings are mandatory on public transport (and in shops from 10th July);
  • If you're under 18 the limit of the number of households you can meet per day (indoors and outdoors) does not apply (but all other rules should be followed, including how many people you meet at one time);
  • Working from home should continue wherever possible.

In this phase, the virus is under control, and because of testing, it's clear where local areas might need extra support if there are more people with the virus.

All of the planned changes for this cycle are below, but remember, this may happen in different stages, and some restrictions will still be in place. The following things will be considered during this phase, some have been given a planned date for when they will be introduced but these might change.

Please note that changes don't apply to those who are shielding unless advised, more information can be found for those that are shielding below. 

From Friday 10th July

  • People can meet with a maximum of two other households indoors, up to a total of 8 people, with physical distancing and hygiene measures;
  • People can meet in groups of up to 15 outdoors, from a maximum of 5 households (your household and four others), with physical distancing and hygiene measures;
  • Wearing face coverings will be mandatory in shops from this date (with some exceptions, for example if you have asthma or are under five);
  • Some public transport and retail businesses will be allowed to reduce physical distancing rules on their premises and on public transport from 2 metres to 1 metres. However, there will need to be measures in place that may include improved ventilation, perspex screens, customer seating plans, regulation of customer flow and taking name and address details from customers. When visiting businesses make sure you follow any signage and instructions from staff, as restrictions from businesses are likely to be different;
  • You can form an extended household if you're not living with your partner and therefore don't need to physically distance;
  • Children aged 11 and under do not have to physically distance indoors.

From Monday 13th July

  • Opticians and dentists will be able to start opening again for certain appointments;
  • Organised outdoor contact sports and outdoor play can resume for children and young people under 18 (subject to guidance);
  • Non-essential shops inside shopping centres can re-open with physical distancing;
  • Face-to-face youth work can resume outdoors, with physical distancing;
  • Women can have one designated person accompany them to scans/antenatal/postnatal appointments. They can also have an additional person, as well as their birth partner, attend the birth of their child and visit in antenatal and postnatal wards.

From Wednesday 15th July

  • Indoor hospitality such as pubs and restaurants can re-open with public health guidance and physical distancing, they will also be allowed to reduce distancing from 2m to 1m (with necessary precautions in place);
  • All holiday accommodation will be able to open;
  • Hairdressers and barbers can re-open - with enhanced hygiene measures;
  • Museums, galleries, cinemas, monuments and libraries can re-open with physical distancing and other measures such as needing to buy your ticket in advance;
  • All childcare providers can open subject to individual provider arrangements;
  • Easing of restrictions on attendance at funerals, marriage ceremonies and civil partnerships registrations, with physical distancing (limited numbers). Associated receptions will still need to follow restrictions on hospitality and household meetings;
  • Places of worship can open with certain measures such as reduced numbers and physical distancing.

From 22nd July

  • Motorcycle instruction and theory/hazard tests can resume. Tractor tests can also resume;
  • Universities and colleges can start a phased return to on campus learning as part of a blended model with remote teaching. Public health measures (including physical distancing) in place;
  • Other personal retail services such as beauticians and tailors can re-open– with enhanced hygiene measures

Not before 31st July

No dates have been announced for the following measures, which are all being considered as part of Phase Three, however these will not come into place before July 31st:

  • Non-essential offices and call centres can re-open following implementation of relevant guidance (including on physical distancing). Working from home and working flexibly remain the default;
  • Live events (outdoors and indoors) with physical distancing and restricted numbers;
  • Entertainment venues such as bingo halls (with physical distancing);
  • Other indoor live-entertainment venues (e.g. theatres, music venues);
  • Indoor gyms (with physical distancing and enhanced hygiene measures);
  • Outdoor contact sports (organised for adults and informal for all ages);
  • Driving lessons can resume.

From 11th August

  • Schools will reopen. The plan is to return in August full-time with no physical distancing necessary however if that is not safe to do so then it will likely involve a blended model of part-time in-school teaching (with physical distancing) and part-time in-home learning. Depending on the evidence and how the virus is being contained, schools are expected to open on August 11, find out more in our education article.

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.

If you're shielding

If you're shielding, you should continue to do so until 31st July and only follow information below where it says it's for people who are shielding, the Scottish Government will provide further updates closer to 31st July about the approach after this date and we will update this page with further information.

From July 10th, if you are shielding, you no longer have to physically distancing from others you live with. You can meet in groups of up to eight people outdoors from two other households in a day, as long as hygiene and physical distancing measures are followed.

You will also be able to travel further than 5 miles from your house, book places to stay, such as self-catering accommodation without shared facilities, and use toilets in other people’s houses if you are meeting them outdoors.

You can also form an extended household group with one other household - this means that the shielding group can visit one other household indoors and stay overnight without physical distancing.

A decision on whether it is safe to pause shielding measures will be announce by the end of July, coming into place from August 1st if confirmed. Children and young people will also be contacted about whether it is safe for them to return to school when schools re-open throughout July.

Phase Four

The next review date is July 30th, this doesn’t necessarily mean we will enter Phase 4 at this point but if progress continues and the Scottish Government is happy that it is safe to do so, this will be the earliest date we can enter this phase.

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.