Scotland Covid lockdown: What are the new restrictions to start 2021?

Video report by ITV News Scotland Correspondent Peter Smith

Scotland is entering in to another Covid-19 lockdown in a bid to quell surging cases of the virus.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon outlined the changes in the Scottish Parliament on Monday, with the new measures coming in to affect from midnight.

Here's what we know so far about the new rules.

'Stay at home' message will become law

The "stay at home" message in Level 4 areas – mainland Scotland and Skye – will now become a legal requirement, aside from limited exemptions.

Nicola Sturgeon giving an update on Covid restrictions in the Scottish Parliament. Credit: PA

People will only be allowed to leave home for exercise - a relaxing of the rules from the first lockdown - to go to work, or if they have caring duties.

Unlike in the spring lockdown, the frequency of outdoor exercise is not being limited.

Scots are being asked to work from home if they can.

Those in the shielding category should work from home if they can, and avoid going to work if they can’t.

Businesses are being asked to "look again at their operations" to facilitate work from home set ups.

Workplaces like construction and manufacturing can stay open, an easing of the restrictions seen in March.

In Scotland, most schools will be closed until at least the end of January. Credit: PA

Schools to shut

Schools and nurseries will be closed to most pupils, except vulnerable children and children of key worker, until at least February.

It means the vast majority of pupils will begin the new term from home, with online learning, from next week.

Household mixing

Indoor visits will remain banned, except in limited special circumstances.

Rules around outdoor gatherings will change to only allow two people from two households to meet outdoors.

So if socialising with another household, only one person from each household can meet and it must be outdoors.

Children aged 11 and under will not be counted in that limit and can play outdoors in larger groups.

Places of worship and ceremonies

From Friday, places of worship will close to the public except for weddings or civil partnerships.

These services will be limited to five people while funerals will be restricted to 20 mourners.

Wakes have been banned.


Travel restrictions remain in place and people cannot travel out of their local authority area, with some exceptions.

Watch the announcement in full:

What else is changing?

As a part of the existing measures in place, homeware stores and garden centres will remain closed.

Ski centres, clinics offering cosmetic and aesthetic procedures and showrooms for larger retailers will have to close under a tightening of premises designated as essential retail.

Other Level 4 restrictions – including closure of bars, restaurants, cafes, gyms and hairdressers – remain.

Limits on travel will remain, with a ban in place on travel between Scotland and other parts of the UK, except for essential purposes.

The current one-metre exemption for social distancing in workplace canteens will end. Canteens will have to ensure that employees sit two metres or more apart.

The tightened restrictions are a heightening of the rules already in place in Scotland from Boxing day.

All of mainland Scotland entered into Level 4 – the toughest of the country’s five tiers of restrictions – from that point.