Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice. You can now search our website to see what businesses are open and signed up to the Good to Go scheme. Find more advice on exploring Scotland during Covid-19 on our dedicated page.

Bloodyfoot near Kinglassie on the Pilgrim Way © Fife Council / Damian Shields


Covid-19 Recovery Phases in Scotland

We've spent a few months only dreaming of exploring Scotland, but it's now time to turn these dreams into plans, and take a break in Scotland. Use our "We're Open" search feature below to find businesses which have reopened, and look out for the Good to Go logo, to see businesses which have carried out a Covid-19 risk assessment. Please remember to plan and book ahead - many businesses including attractions can't accept walk-ins anymore due to capacity restrictions and other safety measures.

We've got all the information you need on what you need to know - physical distancing guidelines and face coverings, what's open, and other questions you might have on safety measures to keep you safe from Covid-19 on your Scottish trip.

Last updated: 8 October 2020

Jump to:

What everyone needs to know 

The Scottish Government wants people to be safe but is not advising that booked holiday accommodation in October needs to be cancelled. They want visitors to think about whether you need to travel, especially if you live in or would be travelling to central Scotland.

National restrictions

  • NEW: Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes can open until 6pm indoors, but only for food and non-alcoholic beverages. Alcohol can only be served outdoors until the venue closes at 10pm each night. Hotels and their restaurants may remain open for residents only beyond 6pm, but cannot serve alcohol after this time.
  • NEW: Shops will be asked from this weekend to return to 2 m physical distancing, and re-introduce additional measures such as one-way systems.
  • You should not be meeting another household in any home.
  • There are exceptions for those who live alone, non-cohabiting couples, childcare and tradespeople.
  • You can meet with one other household in hospitality or outdoors including in a private garden, up to a total of six people (not counting any children under 12 years old).
  • Young people between 12 and 18 can meet outdoors in a group of six from different households.
  • Hospitality establishments are required to close at 10pm every night.
  • Maintain a 2 m distance from anyone outside your household, unless in a specific setting where a 1 m distance is advised due to additional precautions (eg hospitality). This doesn't apply to children under 12.
  • Face coverings are mandatory on public transport, in shops, tourist attractions, cinemas and pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes, when not at your table.
  • You should not share a journey in a private car with someone outside your household.

NEW Local restrictions

These restrictions are in place for the following areas:

  • Edinburgh & The Lothians
  • Greater Glasgow & Clyde Valley
  • Ayrshire & Arran
  • Loch Lomond, The Trossachs, Stirling & Forth Valley

The restrictions are:

  • Pubs, bars and licensed restaurants to shut to all but takeaway food services from 6pm on Friday 9 October until Sunday 25 October.
  • Hotels and their restaurants may remain open for residents only, but cannot serve alcohol.
  • All cafes can open until 6pm each day, but cannot serve alcohol.
  • Avoid public transport unless necessary - eg for travel to school or work.
  • Snooker and pool halls, indoor bowling alleys, casinos and bingo halls will also be closed.
  • Anyone in this area is advised to think carefully about whether they need to travel outside of the region they live in. If it is necessary, they should plan to do so safely.


  • You can still book your household onto organised activities - outdoor activities, tours, coaches - alongside other unconnected households, as these operators are still allowed to take larger numbers where capacity allows. You should keep to your own household within the activity, follow 2 m physical distancing (1 m for organised day boat trips) and wear your mask on coaches, tours and boat trips.
  • You can only stay in self-catered accommodation (including caravans, flats and holiday cottages) with your own household while the current restrictions on indoor private gatherings are in place.
  • If you are planning a stay in a hotel, B&B or similar, you should book at least one room per household.

Contact tracing app

  • All residents and visitors should download the Protect Scotland app for free from the Apple and Google stores. The app will alert you if you have been in close contact with another app user who has tested positive for coronavirus. It supports contact tracing and works through Bluetooth anonymously, protecting your privacy.


You can search our website for businesses that are open now, and for those who are part of the Good to Go scheme.


  • Always check directly with a business before visiting - most businesses are now able to open, but some businesses may need a little longer to prepare.
  • They will also be able to tell you if you need to book in advance, and what safety measures they have will be operating when you visit.
  • Look out for the Good to Go scheme logo, which shows which businesses have carried out a Covid-19 risk assessment.

Dunbar Cliff Top Trail


All businesses are now able to reopen apart from the following exceptions. Remember to still check the details of individual businesses before visiting, as some may not have reopened for 2020.

  • Contact sports for those over 12 indoors - not running
  •  Entertainment venues such as theatres and clubs - not open
  • Outdoor and indoor live events - virtual events only
  • Public transport - running but still a limited capacity
  • Pubs, bars, restaurants & cafes - closing at 10pm every night
  • Soft-play centres - not open
  • Sports stadiums - not open
  • Weddings (outdoors) - open to a limited number of attendees



Check out our top tips from the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and help us look after Scotland's great outdoors on your break. Keeping the countryside beautiful by tidying up after ourselves, following the guidance on when and where to camp, and not lighting fires ensures it'll all be just as lovely for those who come along after us.

Find out more advice on exploring the countryside of Scotland just now.


Now the travel restriction has been lifted and accommodation has reopened, you can visit from other parts of the UK.

For those living in areas of England currently under tighter restrictions we would ask people to only travel to Scotland for essential trips to help keep the virus under control. Please stay up to date with the latest advice from the UK and Scottish Governments.


Please check the full list of countries who can travel to Scotland without quarantine carefully. Visitors from some countries are still being asked to self-quarantine for 14 days when they arrive.

Every visitor needs to provide their journey and contact details when travelling to Scotland.

These rules apply even to those who land in another part of the UK, and travel on by other means to Scotland.

Find out more on health checks when entering Scotland.


If you develop Covid-19 symptoms while on holiday in Scotland, please self-isolate in your accommodation and follow the advice from the Scottish Government.


Many businesses such as shops and restaurants currently prefer you to use contact free payments for hygiene reasons and some may be following a "contactless payment only" policy. Please check that your debit/credit card is accepted in the UK before your trip begins.


Car rental companies are following government advice and have increased their health and safety measures. Check before you travel with individual companies for information on any additional measures they are taking.

Our airports have car rental facilities close to their arrival halls. Make sure to check before you travel if car rentals are open and book your car in advance.

Public transport capacity will be limited due to physical distancing requirements. The use of taxis or private pick-ups are recommended.

Please remember to wear your mask when using public transport.

You can find more specific information on travelling to Scotland, and travelling around Scotland.


  • We've got a handy download to guide you on how to enjoy Scotland responsibly over the new few months - check out our helpful reminders to protect yourself and others, and plan ahead.
  • As we start to venture out again, here are five easy ways you can support Scotland's fantastic tourism industry with our take five for tourism PDF.
  • Watch our Guide to Safe Travels in Scotland video to see how businesses and providers have been working hard to keep you safe.

Cookie Policy

VisitScotland uses cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By using our website you consent to our use of cookies. Please read our privacy and cookies statement for more information.