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 now announced 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 will be introduced from 2 November.

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.

Read the latest guidance on COVID-19 from Health Protection Scotland and the Scottish Government

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

Staying safe and physical distancing

Read the Scottish Government’s information on staying safe and protecting others through physical distancing for people in Scotland.

People must by law wear a face covering in shops, communal workspaces and on public transport and public transport premises such as railway and bus stations and airports.

Scotland COVID-19 protection levels and decision making

The 5-level system will help you to understand and prepare for protections that might be introduced, as well as showing how and when they may be lifted. This new system will be introduced from 2 November. The details of what level will apply to each part of the country will be set out before then. Levels will be reviewed on a regular basis.

The Scottish Government also published a coronavirus framework for decision making. It gives an indication of the order in which Scotland will seek to change restrictions.

Guidance for employees

Read all the latest guidance for employees including 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

Find out all the latest international travel advice and sign up for travel alerts via the Foreign and Commonwealth (FCO) website. People are advised not to travel abroad unless it is essential. Some countries are exempt from this advice.

Parents

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

Community support

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

The Scottish Government has published guidance for businesses in Scotland on physical distancing.

UK Government support for businesses

The UK Government has set out a Winter Economy Plan of measures to protect public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

Businesses in Scotland could be eligible to benefit from the following schemes and announcements:

Job Support Scheme

The Job Support Scheme (JSS) starts to operate from 1 November and covers all Nations of the UK. For every hour not worked, the employee will be paid up to two-thirds of their usual salary.

  • The government will provide up to 61.67% of wages for hours not worked, up to £1541.75 per month (more than doubling the maximum payment of £697.92 under the previous rules). The cap is set above median earnings for employees in August at a reference salary of £3,125 per month.
  • Example: a typical full-time employee in the hospitality industry is paid an average of £1,100 per month. Under the Jobs Support Scheme for open businesses, they will still take home at least £807 a month. All the employer needs to pay is a total of £283 a month or just £70 a week; the government will pay the rest.
  • Employers using the scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus (JRB) for each employee that meets the eligibility criteria of the JRB. This is worth £1,000 per employee. Taking JSS-Open and JRB together, an employer could receive over 95% of the total wage costs of their employees if they are retained until February.
  • For more information see the Job Support Scheme Open Factsheet

Support for the self-employed:

More than 150,000 people in Scotland have benefited from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

  • The government will provide two taxable SEISS grants to support those experiencing reduced demand due to COVID-19 but are continuing to trade, or temporarily cannot trade.
  • It will be available to anyone who was previously eligible for the SEISS grant one and grant two, and meets the eligibility criteria.
  • Grants will be paid in two lump sum instalments each covering 3 months. The first grant will cover a three-month period from the start of November 2020 until the end of January 2021.
  • The government will pay a taxable grant which is calculated based on 40% of three months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £3,750.
  • The second grant will cover a three-month period from the start of February until the end of April 2021. The government will review the level of the second grant and set this in due course.
  • For more information, see the HMRC website

Support for small and medium sized businesses:

Support for larger businesses:

Scottish Government support for businesses

The Scottish Government has a summary of their support available to businesses in Scotland. Scottish Government coronavirus business support and advice is also available at the Find Business Support website.

Business support helplines

HMRC tax helpline

HMRC has set up a helpline for businesses and self-employed people who are concerned about paying their tax due to COVID-19.

Call 08000 241222 for help and advice.

Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm

Find out about call charges.

Scottish Government helpline

If you run a business in Scotland you can also get advice by calling the Scottish Government’s helpline: 0300 303 0660. It is open Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm. Select option 1 to speak to the COVID-19 team.

How you can help

Use the UK Government’s service to tell us how your business might be able to help with the response to coronavirus.

Published 23 March 2020
Last updated 23 October 2020 + show all updates
  1. Edited the sections on: General Guidelines, Scot Gov Decision Framework, Job Support Scheme and Self employed.

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

  3. Updated with information from the Winter Economy Plan

  4. Updated social distancing guidelines and links

  5. Updated links and added Aberdeen localised lockdown announcement

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

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

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

  9. Added guidance on getting tested in Scotland

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

  11. Updated links to Scottish Government guidance

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

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

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

  15. Updated UK Government business support links

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

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

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

  19. First published.