Scotland’s five-tier coronavirus alert system revealed

Different parts of Scotland to be given their own level of restrictions under the plans.

A proposed five-tier system of measures for dealing with coronavirus in Scotland has been revealed.

The plan – set to come into force on November 2 – ranges from life being “closest to normal” without a vaccine at level zero to almost a full lockdown at level four, when non-essential shops would close.

Level two will be similar to current rules outside central Scotland, with level three likened to those inside the central belt, where pubs and restaurants are closed.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there were no plans to close schools, even under the strictest measures.

Council areas in Scotland will each be given their own alert rating, with restrictions designed to match the risk of Covid spreading locally.

However, the whole country could be placed in the same level if necessary, Sturgeon said at her daily briefing, where she also revealed the week’s death toll from Covid-19 had reached 94.

The new system of restrictions has been anticipated since a similar three-tiered system was introduced in England by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

MSPs will vote on whether to adopt the new the proposal next week.

Earlier this month, temporary restrictions were brought in across Scotland and, although initially set to end on October 25, these were extended until the new tiered system comes into effect.

Since October 9, bars and licensed restaurants in five health board areas – Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley – have been forced to close for all but takeaways.

Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes elsewhere in Scotland are only allowed to serve indoor customers between 6am and 6pm with a ban on alcohol inside, although alcoholic drinks can be served until 10pm in outdoor areas.

The hospitality industry has launched legal action to challenge the restrictions, which it says will cost jobs and force businesses to close permanently.

Indoor meetings with other households are also currently banned across Scotland.

Level by level at-a-glance


  • Most businesses can open
  • Eight people from three households are able to meet indoors


  • Indoor visits restricted to six people from two households


  • Limits on when pubs and restaurants can open
  • No indoor socialising
  • Six people from two households will be able to meet outdoors


  • Closure of pubs, although restaurants can open in some circumstances


  • Closure of non-essential shops
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