What Phase Are We in and What Does It Mean?

Last updated 07/08/2020 at 13:00

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.

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

Check what the situation is in your local area. Aberdeen is currently in a 'local lockdown' meaning certain restrictions that have been lifted in Scotland are back in effect in that area due to a rise in cases. This may happen to other areas as restrictions are eased so keep up-to-date with what the situation is in where you live.

Scotland entered 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 and will be mandatory in libraries, museums and places of worship from 8th August;
  • 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.

Shielding guidelines will pause on 1st August. From then, people who've been shielding can follow general public health guidance.

From 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 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 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.

From 1st August

  • Those who have been shielding no longer need to do so and can follow the rest of the general public advice and restrictions.

From 3rd August

  • Relaxation of restrictions for certain support groups such as alcohol and addiction groups – as well as for sports coaches. 
  • Routine eye tests can take place in optometrists and at home.

From 8th August

  • Face coverings become mandatory in museums, libraries and places of worship.

From 11th August

  • Schools can reopen on 11th August with a phased return until the 18th August when all pupils will be back full-time with no physical distancing necessary. School might not feel completely normal when you go back as there will be some changes. This might include things like avoiding large gatherings, staying in the same group or class throughout the day and not sharing equipment. Find out more in our education article.

From 17th August

  • Urgent dental care involving aerosols can be provided

From 24th August

There will be a review on 20th August to see if these changes can go ahead.

  • Live outdoor events can start up again with physical distancing, increased hygiene measures and restricted numbers
  • Outdoor contact sports can resume (following guidance from sports bodies)
  • Bingo halls can reopen with physical distancing and other guidance
  • Funfairs can reopen following guidance
  • Pool and snooker halls and indoor bowling can start up again with enhanced hygiene and other guidance
  • Driving lessons can resume 
  • Amusement arcades and casinos can reopen with guidance, including enhanced hygiene

Not before 11th September

  • Non-essential offices and call centres can open following guidance 

From 14th September

There will be a review on 10th September to see if these changes can go ahead.

  • Gyms (indoor) with physical distancing, enhanced hygiene and other guidance
  • Swimming pools (indoor) with guidance
  • Soft play (indoor) with enhanced hygiene and other guidance 
  • Theatres and live music venues with physical distancing and other guidance
  • Indoor sports courts and dance studios with physical distancing and other guidance
  • Stadiums with physical distancing and restricted numbers 

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

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. 

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