Covid in Scotland: What are the rules?

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Most of the Covid restrictions in Scotland were lifted when the country moved beyond the level zero rules on 9 August.

Physical distancing rules and the limits on gatherings have been removed, and all venues are allowed to reopen.

There were also changes to rules on self-isolation - but face coverings still need to be worn in many public spaces, including schools.

What are the rules now?

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The restrictions on physical distancing and limits to the size of social gatherings have been removed, and nightclubs are allowed to reopen.

Large-scale events can resume - but organisers of outdoor events for more than 5,000 people and indoor events for more than 2,000 have to apply for permission.

But from 1 October, anyone over the age of 18 will need to show proof that they have had both doses of the vaccine before they are allowed entry to:

  • Nightclubs and adult entertainment venues
  • Unseated indoor live events with more than 500 people in the audience
  • Unseated outdoor live events for more than 4,000 people
  • Any event, of any nature, attended by more than 10,000 people

Plans to introduce a vaccine passport scheme in England have been abandoned by the UK government.

Indoor hospitality venues still have to collect the contact details of customers to help with Test and Protect.

Close contacts of those who test positive for Covid no longer have to automatically self-isolate - as long as two weeks have passed since they received their second dose of the vaccine, and they have no symptoms.

Instead, they must take a PCR test as soon as possible and can end self-isolation if this comes back negative.

If someone aged between five and 17 years old is identified as a close contact, they will need to take a PCR test - but can end self-isolation if it comes back negative.

image source, Getty Images
image captionThe Scottish government is urging a "gradual" return to office working, with home working to continue where possible

Children under the age of 12 no longer need to wear face coverings.

People will still have to wear face coverings in all the same indoor settings as in level zero, such as shops, hospitality venues and public transport.

While the measure will be kept under review, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was likely to remain the law "for some time to come".

There was initially some confusion about where masks would be required in hospitality venues. However, the rules say that face coverings can be removed while dancing, drinking and dining, while drinking at the bar is allowed in pubs.

The 2m distancing rule remains in healthcare settings such as hospitals, doctors' surgeries and dentists.

The Scottish government is also continuing to advise people to work from home where possible.

Ms Sturgeon says the "gradual approach" to returning to offices should continue, and employers are being encouraged to consider a hybrid model of home and office working in the longer term.

Restrictions for fully-vaccinated visitors from the EU and US have been eased. Those arriving from countries on the amber list no longer have to quarantine if they have been double-jabbed.

What about schools?

image source, PA Media

Pupils and teachers in secondary schools will continue to wear face coverings and the 1m social distancing rule will remain until at least the October holidays.

Whole classes no longer need to self-isolate when a pupil tests positive, with only the closest contacts of positive cases required to test and isolate.

However, the guidance which is provided in information letters sent to staff and the parents of pupils when they are in low-risk contact with positive cases is to be updated. It will now have a stronger recommendation that those involved should take a lateral flow test before returning to school.

In addition, all school staff and secondary school pupils are being asked to take a lateral flow test twice a week.

Carbon dioxide monitors - which assess how well-ventilated a space is - are also required in schools and childcare settings.

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