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First Ministers Statement 20th April 2021

On Tuesday 20th April, the First Minister gave an update on changes to COVID-19 restrictions which come into effect from Monday (26 April). Read the full statement here.

The following timetable of easing restrictions was outlined:

  • 26th April – whole of Scotland moves to level 3
  • 17th May – Level 2 – for example that from 17 May people will be able to meet in small numbers in each other’s homes for the first time in a long time, there will be further reopening of hospitality, and outdoor contact sport for adults will resume.
  • 7th Jun – Level 1
  • End of June – Level 0
  • Summer – a move to “something more like normality”

From Monday 26th April Tourism will reopen across Scotland – key points 

  • all remaining travel restrictions will be lifted on 26 April for travel anywhere in Scotland, and for travel between Scotland, England and Wales. So from Monday, you can travel anywhere across Britain for any purpose. We will also remove restrictions on Monday on travel to and from Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man – though people should check the rules on entry to each of these territories before you travel.
  • Tourist accommodation can re-open from Monday 26th April. However in self-catering accommodation, the rules on indoor meetings still apply. Which means that, until 17 May, two households can’t stay in the same accommodation.
  •  lateral flow testing will be available to anyone in Scotland from 26 April. You can order later flow test online for delivery to your home – and you can find information on how to do that on the Scottish Government’s website. Alternatively, you can collect the tests from Covid testing centres in the afternoon or early evening.
  • Island communities are being kept at the same level as the rest of the country at the moment, to allow travel between island communities and the rest of Scotland. “So If you are planning to travel to an island  we do encourage you to take two lateral flow tests before you depart.
    The second test should be on the day that you are planning to travel, and the first should be three days before you travel. That means that if you test positive, you have a chance to take a PCR test – which is more sensitive – to confirm the result before making a final decision on cancelling your visit.”
  • Physical Distancing rules remain the same
  • Other changes that come into force from Monday are as follows:
    • Retail can open
    • Takeaway can open from inside
    • Hospitality can open – outdoors 6 people/ 6 households and alcohol permitted. Indoors until 8:00 pm, no alcohol 6 people from 2 households,
    • Non-essential informal childcare can re-start;
    • Non-essential work is again permitted inside people’s homes. That includes cleaning – and also repair work, and painting and decorating;
    • Driving lessons and driving tests can resume;
    • Gyms and swimming pools can re-open for individual exercise; and
    • Indoor attractions and public buildings – such as galleries, museums and libraries – are also able to re-open from Monday.

Collection of Customer Data

Updated multi-sector guidance to support customer and visitor data gathering for businesses and other establishments to assist contact tracing as part of NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect system. Please see the guidance here:

  • Key change, data should now be collected from each member of the party not just the lead member.

Tourism and Hospitality Guidance

Guidance for the tourism and hospitality sector, including procedures for staff and customer safety and an operations checklist, has been published ahead of the 26 April reopening. Guidance covering Wedding receptions and funeral wakes is also included.


Further updates

Updated guidance on face coverings and face masks has also been published. The guidance includes information on face coverings in the workplace and additional information for businesses or operators carrying out close contact work. In addition, a general advice card for everyone at work has been published and a specific advice card for those working in the waste sector providing guidance for managers and workers is also now available.


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