Five-level coronavirus alert system to begin on Monday

Each part of the country will be allocated a level of restrictions later in the week.

Five-level coronavirus alert system to begin on Monday Getty Images

A five-tier system designed to control coronavirus in Scotland will come into effect from Monday.

Each part of the country will be allocated a level on a scale between zero – the minimum number of restrictions – and four, the closest to a full lockdown.

MSPs unanimously voted through the proposed Covid alert system following a debate at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.

It means that from Monday, current restrictions on many pubs and restaurants across Scotland will be relaxed.

Holyrood also unanimously agreed a Green amendment, stating that “the ultimate goal must be elimination of Covid-19” and recognising the role that expanded testing to asymptomatic people will play in this.

The Scottish Parliament further endorsed a Liberal Democrat amendment stating that additional capacity is “urgently needed” in the Test and Protect coronavirus contact tracing system.

However a Scottish Conservative amendment, calling on ministers to “develop and publish a Christmas loneliness strategy to consider the need for families to safely meet relatives across the UK this festive season” was rejected by 50 votes to 69.

And a Labour amendment which said the Scottish and UK governments should “work together to put in place greater economic support for wages and for businesses that may be required to close or have their operations restricted” was voted down by 54 votes to 64, with one abstention. 

Earlier on Tuesday, it was revealed 1327 new coronavirus cases and 25 deaths had been recorded over the past 24 hours.

Levels will be allocated to council areas across the country later this week, when it’s expected North and South Lanarkshire will face the most severe rules under tier four.

That would mean the closure of non-essential shops as well as pubs and restaurants.

The rest of central Scotland is being tipped for level three, close to the current restrictions, although from Monday hospitality establishments can open until 6pm as long as they don’t sell alcohol.

Much of the rest of Scotland is likely to be in level two, with the Highlands and Islands set for level one.

The Scottish Government will set up a new postcode checker so people can check what levels of restrictions are in place in their area.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the plan was to keep schools open throughout, even under level-four restrictions.

Level by level at-a-glance


  • Most businesses can open
  • Eight people from three households are able to meet indoors
  • Life events such as weddings and funerals will be allowed with a maximum of 50 people in attendance


  • Indoor visits restricted to six people from two households
  • Small indoor seated events will be allowed although outdoor standing events will be banned


  • Limits on when pubs and restaurants can open
  • No indoor socialising
  • Six people from two households will be able to meet outdoors
  • Stadium gatherings and events will be banned, other than those which are drive-in
  • Venues such as soft play centres, funfairs and theatres will be shut
  • Cinemas and amusement arcades will remain open
  • Pubs will be allowed to open indoors as long as they serve a main meal


  • Pubs and restaurants can’t sell alcohol and must close at 6pm
  • Entertainment premises will be closed. People should avoid public transport and there should be no travel outside of the area, unless essential
  • Additional protective measures may be in place for services such as hairdressers


  • Closure of non-essential shops
  • Public transport must not be used unless essential
  • Places of worship will remain open but the limit will be reduced from 50 people to 20
  • Weddings and civil partnerships will be limited to five people – six when there is an interpreter
  • Construction and manufacturing will continue
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