Guidance

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.

The Scottish Government has a 5-level system of COVID-19 protection measures that applies nationally or locally depending on prevalence of the virus across Scotland. You can check the level where you live by using the postcode tool.

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

Individuals and families

Health

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 nhsinform.scot 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..

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.

Travel

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

Parents

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

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 30 September 2021. The scheme covers every part of the UK.

Support for the self-employed

More than 158,000 self-employed people in Scotland have benefited from £1.1 billion of grants from the UK Government’s Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. There will be a fifth grant covering May 2021 to September 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 to 5% until 30 September 2021.

A new reduced rate of 12.5% for the tourism and hospitality sectors will then be introduced which will end on 31 March 2022. The scope of the relief will remain unchanged.

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

Support for small and medium businesses

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

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 28 April 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reflect latest Scottish Government guidance following 26 April. Removed links to UK Government schemes that have now closed.

  2. Adding new guidance

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

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

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

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

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

  8. Updated with information from the Winter Economy Plan

  9. Updated social distancing guidelines and links

  10. Updated links and added Aberdeen localised lockdown announcement

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

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

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

  14. Added guidance on getting tested in Scotland

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

  16. Updated links to Scottish Government guidance

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

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

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

  20. Updated UK Government business support links

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

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

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

  24. First published.