Coronavirus (COVID-19): Information for individuals and businesses in Scotland

Use this page to navigate the guidance on the virus for people in Scotland.

General Guidelines

Social distancing rules and guidelines for people and businesses in Scotland are set by the Scottish Government.

From 2 April people across Scotland can make non-essential journeys in their local authority area. A requirement to Stay Local has now replaced the Stay at Home rule.

The Scottish Government has a 5-level system of COVID-19 protection measures that can be applied nationally or locally depending on prevalence of the virus across Scotland. This new system came into effect on 2 November 2020. You can check the level where you live by using the postcode tool.

Restrictions on non-essential travel across local authority boundaries will remain in place. People must stay within their council area for non-essential shopping and should only travel to another area for essential shopping if there are no practical alternatives.

You should:

  • wear a face covering
  • avoid crowded places
  • clean hands and surfaces regularly
  • stay 2m away from other people
  • work from home where they can to prevent unnecessary contact that could risk transmission of the virus.
  • self-isolate and book a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms (new continuous cough, fever or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste)
  • download the Protect Scotland contact tracing app

The Scottish Government has published a Coronavirus (COVID-19): Strategic Framework update and a timetable that sets out how they plan to ease lockdown restrictions.

Individuals and families


Any person who has symptoms of COVID-19 - that is a cough, a temperature or loss of taste or smell - should take immediate steps to book a test.

If this applies to you, please go straight to to get a test or, if you can’t go online, call NHS 24 on 0800 028 2816. Don’t wait to see if you feel better before booking a test, and all people in your household should self-isolate.

The Scottish Government has published Vitamin D advice for all age groups.

Find out how to get help if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse.

Staying safe and physical distancing

People living in and visiting Scotland should follow the Scottish Government guidelines for the COVID protection level (tier) for the local area..

From Tuesday 5 January, mainland Scotland moved from Level 4 to a temporary lockdown. By law, you can only leave your home (or garden) if you have a reasonable excuse as set out in the Scottish Government’s guidance.

Guidance for employees

Guidance for employees includes details about working safely, working from home, childcare, holiday and sick leave, and getting financial help if you are not working or working less.


People travelling to, from, and within Scotland should follow the Scottish Government’s guidance on travel and transport.

From Tuesday 5 January, mainland Scotland moved from Level 4 to a temporary lockdown. By law, you can only leave your home (or garden) if you have a reasonable excuse as set out in the Scottish Government’s guidance.


The Scottish Government has coronavirus advice for parents on its ParentClub website.

Community support

The Ready Scotland website has advice from the Scottish Government on volunteering and how to support others in your community.


Businesses in Scotland may be eligible for support from both the UK and Scottish governments.

Find coronavirus financial support for your business

Physical distancing for businesses

Business in Scotland should follow the Scottish Government guidelines for the COVID protection level (tier) for their local area.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until the end of April 2021. The scheme covers every part of the UK, and means the UK Treasury will pay employees 80% of their salary for hours not worked.

Support for the self-employed

More than 157,000 self-employed people in Scotland have benefited from £777 million of grants from the UK Government’s Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. The scheme has been extended to April 2021.

The grants are taxable income and also subject to National Insurance contributions.

Tax support

The UK Government has cut VAT for the tourism and hospitality sectors by 15% until the end of March 2021.

UK Government also offers support for businesses struggling to pay tax.

Support for small and medium businesses

The UK Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme provides loans of up to £5 million for eligible businesses, is interest free for 12 months, and is open until 31 March 2021.

The UK Government’s Bounce Back Loan scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The UK Government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. The scheme is open to applications until 31 March 2021.

Small businesses and employers across the UK who have paid statutory sick pay to staff taking coronavirus-related leave can claim back the money.

Support for larger businesses

The UK Government’s Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £200m to firms with an annual turnover of more than £45m. The scheme is open to applications until 31 March 2021.

The Bank of England COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility is designed to support liquidity among larger firms, helping them to bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows.

Scottish Government support for businesses

Scottish Government coronavirus business support and advice is available at the Find Business Support website.

Published 23 March 2020
Last updated 6 April 2021 + show all updates
  1. Adding new guidance

  2. Updated with a link to the Scottish Government's Coronavirus (COVID-19): Strategic Framework update - February 2021

  3. Updated with the Scottish Government's mainland lockdown and 'stay at home' guidance.

  4. Updated to reflect changes introduced to UK Government business support from 5th November 2020.

  5. Edited the sections on: General Guidelines, Scot Gov Decision Framework, Job Support Scheme and Self employed.

  6. Added mention of the Enhanced Time to Pay facility to 'Support for the Self Employed'.

  7. Updated with information from the Winter Economy Plan

  8. Updated social distancing guidelines and links

  9. Updated links and added Aberdeen localised lockdown announcement

  10. Updated to include link to Scottish Government's Phase 3 of Route Map published on 9 July

  11. Updated to reflect the Scottish Government's Phase 2 guidance

  12. Updated with further information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

  13. Added guidance on getting tested in Scotland

  14. Full update including the Scottish Government's route map through and out of the crisis.

  15. Updated links to Scottish Government guidance

  16. Added details of the new support package for innovative firms and Bounce Back Loans.

  17. Full update on all existing guidance for individuals and businesses.

  18. Added the Scottish Government's business support helpline number.

  19. Updated UK Government business support links

  20. Updated to include the Self-employment Income Support Scheme

  21. Updated to reflect HMRC's new helpline number and opening hours.

  22. Updated with latest UK Government advice on business closures and the opening of the Scottish Government's Business Support Fund.

  23. First published.