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Answers to Key Questions (first published 24th March – updated 22nd April)

From 26 April, the tourism and hospitality industry can begin to reopen.

There are, understandably, some pertinent questions you need answers to, and we’ve worked with the Scottish Government team and VisitScotland to pull together a list of questions, and answers:

Guidance / policy

 Q: The current guidance online doesn’t reflect the announcement on 16 March for easing of restrictions – is this now out of date?

A: Guidance that will take effect from 26 April is currently being finalised and is hoped will be available from around mid-April. The guidance currently online reflects the current regulations, which for the most part of tourism and hospitality means facilities are closed in level 4. Much of the material relating to assessing risk and workforce issues will remain the same however, so operators can start to review their risk assessments on key issues around physical distancing and hygiene protocols in preparation for checking against any additional requirements when updated guidance is published.


Q: For accommodation: when can I take bookings?

A: Tourist accommodation is expected to re-open from 26 April, at which point travel restrictions across mainland Scotland (into and out of a level 3 areas) will be lifted. Accommodation is closed to general tourism until then.

Q: Can I stay in my own second home from Friday 16th April?

A: The travel relaxation allowing travel outwith own LA for is for family and friends socialising and exercise only does not allow overnight stays.


Q:  Can we host more than one household in our self-catering property? 

A: This will depend on the capacity of the accommodation, and the stage we are at in the coronavirus timetable for easing restrictions: Coronavirus (COVID-19): timetable for easing restrictions – gov.scot (www.gov.scot).

It is expected that tourist accommodation will reopen on 26 April (self-catering accommodation to be restricted in line with rules on indoor gathering).  The prohibition of in-home socialising will apply due to the increased transmissibility of the new variants, but will continue to be kept under review at this date.

The rules for self-catering (including overnight stays) are in line with the private dwelling socialising rules as set out in the levels framework.

From 26 April – guests from one household can stay overnight in self catering.

While the host is at home (eg Airbnb homesharing: Single household only until the levels permit sharing (within capacity and agreed numbers), and then with all appropriate mitigations (own bedroom) and enhanced hygiene. So 17th May is the date for homesharing to re-open.

Indicatively,  from 17 May – four guests from two households can stay overnight in self-catering (in line with ‘up to four people from two households can socialise indoors in a private home or public space’).

This is either 4/2 or a single household.  If you have a large household (more than 4 people) you can’t add anybody else.  The only exception would be if they are in an existing support bubble with the main household.

“If circumstances permit, I can confirm that it would be the intention to move to level 1 on Monday 7 June, before then I hope moving to level 0 in late June – and then as we go into the deeper part of the summer, to something much more like normality, over the course of July.” First Minister

Indicatively, from 7th June – Up to 6 people from up to 3 households can stay in self-catering accommodation.

Indicatively, level zero by late June – Maximum of 8 people from up to 4 households.

Children 12 years and under not included.

Q: What is an extended household?

A: An extended household is a support network which joins two households.

You can form an extended household with another household of any size if you:

  • live by yourself
  • are a single parent
  • are part of a couple who lives apart – including any children you each live with

Definition of an extended household.

Operators are advised to ensure there is sufficient capacity with their accommodation to safely accommodate the numbers of people and households permitted in the levels framework.  It is advisable for separate households to have their own bedrooms within shared accommodation, that shared bathrooms and kitchens are kept clean and materials and instructions for these are provided.  Visitors should, where practicable, use shared rooms one at a time with cleaning and ventilation in between (e.g. preparing and eating a meal).  Where communal toilets are being used providers should implement measures to decrease the risk of contamination including enhanced cleaning and consider reducing access to a one in, one out basis.  Cleaning materials should be provided for users to ‘clean as they go’.

The approach to reducing household restrictions will be gradual as we move through the levels to ensure continued suppression of the virus. We will keep the guidance around restrictions under review to ensure safety, but will not keep them in place longer than is necessary.

Q: Test and Protect – do I need to collect details of all adult guests?

A: No. See more here.

Travel restrictions

Q: Can those who live in Scotland travel anywhere in Scotland and stay in hotel for recreational purposes from 26 April?

A: Yes. Travel within all of mainland Scotland is expected to be permitted from 26 April (subject to other restrictions that remain in place such as household restrictions).  There may be different rules for Island communities – further information will be made available in due course.

Q: Is it possible for people to travel to and from Scotland from other parts of UK and stay in hotels for recreational purposes from 26 April?

A: This is still to be confirmed. In March the First Minister said “We hope that restrictions on journeys between Scotland and other parts of the UK and the wider common travel area can also be lifted, if not on 26 April, then as soon as possible thereafter. However, we need to keep this under review, as part of our efforts to reduce the risk of new cases being imported into Scotland and we will update the position during April.”

Q: When will international travel be able to resume? 

A: This is still to be confirmed.  Governments across the UK are working together to determine the right approach for international travel and further updates will be provided in due course.

Q: Can people travel to Scotland from England to re-open businesses for 26th April?

A. Travel is currently permitted for essential reasons, so reopening a business would fall under an exemption.

Visitor attractions

Q: When can visitor attractions open?

A: Visitor attractions are expected to open from 26 April, subject to socialising and physical distancing rules, and risk assessed covid safe protocols.

Q: While museums and galleries are mentioned being allowed to open from 26 April, what about other types of visitor centres?

A: Mainstream visitor attractions are expected to open on 26 April.  Facilities like funfairs and soft play areas are not classified as visitor attractions for the purpose of the 26 April opening and are subject to separate guidance which will support level 1 sectors, approx. June opening.

Other Questions

Q: What happens If a local authorities case number go over 150/100000, will they revert to level 4, closed and not allowed to travel, or welcome guests?

A. The updated Strategic Framework published on 23 February describes a process of phased, prioritised national easings. In step with these changes, we committed to undertaking a review of the state of the epidemic and our response to it, to ensure that it remains safe to proceed with each new set of easings. To inform these reviews we have adopted the six criteria recommended by the World Health Organisation[1] in assessing whether it is safe to proceed. Consistent with our commitment to transparency in decision making, we intend to publish the assessments made, in order to explain our decisions.

While this is a national level route map, as the First Minister set out last Tuesday, this doesn’t preclude us from making use of a localised levels-based/local lockdown approach if this is deemed justified, necessary and proportionate.

Work is underway to finalise the methodology for applying the Levels framework on a more localised geographic basis should this be needed in the future, including the way in which indicators and other intelligence feed into this.

Q: Can weddings take place in self-catering units? 

A. Our current thinking is that if there is a manager on the premises checking that physical distancing etc is being complied with, we might treat them in the same way as a hotel venue. However, if there is no such manager, then we would treat them in the same way as a private dwelling.

Business Support Funding

Q1  Will businesses on Council Tax, which are currently eligible for the equivalent of SFBF, be eligible for continued support via SAP-CTF until we leave Level 4 on 26th April as previously announced?

A. We can now confirm that additional funding for the Small Accommodation Providers paying Council Tax fund. Funding is to be increased by approx. £14.45m, enabling eligible B&Bs, small guesthouses etc. to receive a SFBF April payment of £1,000 and a Restart Grant of £8,000. You can find out more detail here.

Q2. Will self-catering businesses on islands impacted by travel restrictions receive continued financial support?

A. Steps have been put in place to ensure that equivalent funding to the SFBF and other programme, such as SAP-CTF are also available on the islands. Anything additional will be at discretion of the islands authorities themselves, via use of their own Local Authority Discretion Fund.

Q2  Will self-catering businesses that continue to be impacted by household restrictions be supported by ongoing financial support until they are able to trade ‘normally’?

A. We have already supported larger self-catering businesses through the large self-catering grant (2k), and exclusive use venues with the exclusive use grant (10k) .  Due to the limits on budgets available, there are no plans to rerun this fund. If they are registered for Non Domestic Rates and in receipt of Strategic Framework Business Fund then they will receive a restart grant in April of up to £18k plus a supplement of up to £1,500.

With the increased transmissibility of the new variants of the virus single household restrictions are necessary, at least in the initial phases of a move out of lockdown.  The approach to reducing household restrictions will be gradual as we move through the levels to ensure continued suppression of the virus.  We will keep the guidance around restrictions under review to ensure safety, but will not keep them in place longer than is necessary.

“We will continue to monitor and review the appropriateness of our business support packages as we move out of lockdown. You will of course recognise that this is a continuing moving environment and we aim to keep the business community updated as quickly as decisions are made. I trust that in the meantime this information is helpful.” Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Kate Forbes MSP



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