At a glance: What are the rules under Scotland’s new lockdown?

Vast majority of Scots are legally required to stay at home and all schools will remain closed until at least February.

Most of Scotland has been placed in lockdown for the whole of January to tackle the rising spread of the new coronavirus strain.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced several key changes aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19 in a statement to Holyrood after recalling the Scottish Parliament on Monday.

The First Minister’s full statement is available to view here and the main points can be viewed at a glance below.


Mainland Scotland and the Isle of Skye will be placed in lockdown for January with a legal requirement to stay at home – a move that mirrors the lockdown put in place in March.

Island areas currently in level three of the Scottish Government’s framework will remain in level three.

It will only be permissible to leave home for an essential purpose, including caring responsibilities, essential shopping, exercise and being part of an extended household.

In addition, anyone who is able to work from home must do so. It will only be a reasonable excuse to leave your home to go to work if that work cannot be done from home.  

The Scottish Government has provided a list of reasonable excuses to leave your home here.


People who are shielding should not go into work. The chief medical officer is writing to everyone who falls into this category, and his letter will count as a fit note for those who need it.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Sturgeon said: “If you were shielding and you cannot work from home, our clear advice now is that you should not go into work at all.”


Unlike the lockdown in March, no restrictions will be put on outdoor exercise.

But rules around outdoor gatherings will change to only allow two people from two households to meet outdoors (previously six people from two households were allowed to meet outdoors).

Children aged 11 and under will not be counted in that limit, and they will also be able to play outdoors in larger groups, including in organised gatherings.

However, for everyone else – including 12 to 17-year-olds – outdoor exercise should only take place in a way which is consistent with the two people from two households rule.

Outdoor non-contact sports such as golf and tennis are permitted for all age groups provided this is within a single household group, or the group contains no more than two people from two different households. 

Nobody is allowed to travel into and out of Scotland unless it is for an essential purpose.


Most pupils in Scotland will be learning from home for at least the rest of the month.

Nurseries, primary schools and secondary schools across the whole country will be closed for the majority of children/pupils until February 1 – except for vulnerable youngsters and the children of key workers who cannot work from home.

A review will take place on January 18 to decide whether pupils can return on February 1.


Places of worship to close during January for all purposes except broadcasting a service, or conducting a funeral, wedding or civil partnership.

Up to 20 people will still be able to attend funeral services but wakes will not be permitted.

A maximum of five people will be able to attend wedding and civil partnership services.


The number of non-essential services that remain open will be further restricted.

Premises which will need to close as a result of these changes will include, for example, ski centres, showrooms of larger retailers, and clinics offering cosmetic and aesthetic procedures.

The current one-metre exemption for workplace canteens will end – so canteens will have to ensure that employees sit two metres or more apart, rather than one metre. 

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