Coronavirus Advice for Travellers to the South of Scotland

by Scotland Starts Here, 19th March 2020
Gladhouse Reservoir | Penicuik.
Coronavirus Advice for Travellers to the South of Scotland

Last updated: Saturday, 5 June 2021

Please check below for official Scottish and UK guidance on COVID-19 (coronavirus) for travellers, as well as resources for travelling safely to and within Dumfries & Galloway, the Scottish Borders and Midlothian. The health and safety of visitors and residents is of paramount importance, and we want to share ongoing advice.


Key Information

  • Scotland is gradually leaving lockdown and easing restrictions. Stay safe and adhere to guidelines when travelling.
  • You can travel around Scotland and stay overnight.
  • Check directly with venues, businesses and attractions for up to date information on closures and restrictions, as there may be disruptions.
  • The latest information on COVID-19 can be found on the Scottish Government website 
  • Travellers already in the UK who need medical advice can use the 111 online service to get further information

Will coronavirus impact my travels to the South of Scotland? 

Though restrictions have been eased, they may still impact on travel plans.

Check below for further details on current restrictions in the South of Scotland. Restrictions for all of Scotland will be reassessed regularly, and additional guidelines as well as local protection levels for individual areas may be introduced. Restrictions for areas outwith the South of Scotland are available on the Scottish Government website

Non-essential retail and hospitality businesses across Scotland are slowly reopening, and travel across the country is allowed. Keep in mind that businesses may set an individual reopening schedule, revise their opening times or introduce a reduced offer. Restrictions still apply to events, which may therefore be cancelled or postponed. Always check ahead before travelling. 

Stay informed. Here’s what you need to know:

Social distancing:

  • Practice social distancing: Keep a 2-meter distance from anyone outside of your household.
  • This may be reduced to a 1-meter distancing rule for businesses that have taken additional safety and hygiene measures.

Face coverings:

  • Wearing a face covering is mandatory in shops, on public transport and in all indoor tourism and hospitality spaces when not sitting down for food and drink. 
  • There are exceptions for some health conditions and children under 5. 

Covid Levels:

Lockdown
  • Socialising: no in-home socialising with members outside your household. Up to four people from two households can meet outside for a catch up or exercise.
  • Hospitality: closed.
  • Accommodation: essential only, eg for work.
  • Visitor Attractions: closed.
  • Travel: no non-essential travel. Stay home and stay safe.
  • Shopping: Only for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
  • Transport: Avoid use of public transport, except essential purposes.
  • Stadia & Events: No events permitted.
  • Leisure & Entertainment: closed.
  • Outdoors exercise is allowed, including running, walking, or cycling with up to four people from two households. However, a 5-mile travel limit applies.
Level 4
  • Socialising: no in-home socialising, 6 people from 2 households outdoors and in public places.
  • Hospitality: closed, apart from within hotels.
  • Accommodation: essential only, eg for work.
  • Visitor Attractions: closed.
  • Travel: no non-essential travel into or out of this area. Limits on travel distance or a requirement to stay at home are possible. Exemptions for essential work, education, shopping, health, outdoor exercise, weddings and funerals, and transit through to other areas.
  • Transport: No use of public transport, except essential purposes.
  • Shopping: closed apart from click and collect.
  • Stadia & Events: No events permitted. Stadia closed to spectators.
  • Leisure & Entertainment: closed.
Level 3
  • Socialising: No in-home socialising, up to 6 people from 6 households can meet outdoors and in public places.
  • Hospitality: No alcohol on-sale indoors, however, alcohol can be consumed outdoors. Up to 6 people from 2 households can meet for a sit-down meal in a restaurant
  • Accommodation: open
  • Visitor Attractions: all open or outdoor only open, depending on circumstances.
  • Travel: Travel is allowed though some transport disruptions may occur
  • Transport: Follow guidelines when using public transport.
  • Shopping: Open.
  • Stadia & Events: No events permitted. Stadia closed to spectators.
  • Leisure & Entertainment: Closed.
Level 2
  • Socialising: in-home socialising is allowed and you can meet up to 6 people from 3 households in your home or theirs; up to 8 people from 8 households can meet outdoors.
  • Hospitality: Groups of up to 6 people from 3 households can meet in public places such as cafés, restaurants and bars. Indoor opening hours are limited, with businesses closing at 10.30pm.
  • Accommodation: open.
  • Visitor Attractions: open.
  • Travel: no non-essential travel to or from areas in Level 3. Exemptions for essential work, education, shopping, health, outdoor exercise, weddings and funerals, and transit through to other areas.
  • Shopping: open.
  • Stadia & Events: only drive-in events permitted. Stadia closed to spectators.
  • Leisure & Entertainment: only cinemas and amusement arcades open.
Level 1 – current level for the South of Scotland – Dumfries & Galloway and the Scottish Borders
  • Socialising: in-home socialising is allowed with up to 6 people from 3 households. Outdoors and in public places, up to 12 people from 12 households can meet.
  • Hospitality: Groups of up to 8 from 3 households can meet in indoors settings, while up to 12 form 12 households can meet outdoors. Premises can sell alcohol and food indoors and outdoors, though time restrictions are possible, and indoor premises must close by 11pm.
  • Accommodation: open.
  • Visitor Attractions: open.
  • Travel: no non-essential travel to or from areas in Level 3. Exemptions for essential work, education, shopping, health, outdoor exercise, weddings and funerals, and transit through to other areas.
  • Shopping: open.
  • Stadia & Events: outdoor and stadia events (seated and ambulatory) are permitted with restricted numbers. Indoor events (seated) are permitted with restricted numbers.
  • Leisure & Entertainment: open apart from nightclubs.
Level 0
  • Socialising: 8 people from three households indoors, 15 people from 5 households outdoors.
  • Hospitality: can sell alcohol and food indoors and outdoors. Time restrictions are possible.
  • Accommodation: open.
  • Visitor Attractions: open.
  • Travel: no non-essential travel to or from areas in Level 3. Exemptions for essential work, education, shopping, health, outdoor exercise, weddings and funerals, and transit through to other areas.
  • Shopping: open
  • Stadia & Events: outdoor and stadia events are permitted with restricted numbers. Indoor events (seated and ambulatory) are permitted with restricted numbers.
  • Leisure & Entertainment: open apart from nightclubs.

Additional notes:

  • There are exceptions to the indoor household restrictions for those who live alone, non-cohabiting couples, childcare and tradespeople.
  • Children under 12 do not count towards group size limits.
  • Make sure to keep a 2 m distance from anyone outside your household. This doesn’t apply to children under 12.

What’s open:

Non-essential businesses are open, and this also applies to operators and businesses in the Scottish tourism industry. Non-essential travel is allowed across Scotland and the UK. Whatever your plans, please make sure you stay safe and follow official Covid level guidelines as well as businesses’ individual Covid guidelines.

  • Accommodation: Open
  • Food & Drink: Cafés, restaurants, pubs and bars are open.

When you travel:

  • Know before you go: Follow guidance from the government and individual businesses. Check directly with businesses for restrictions and guidance before you travel.
  • Download the Protect Scotland app for free from the App Store or Google Play Store. The app will alert you if you have been in close contact with another user who has tested positive for coronavirus. As it works anonymously through Bluetooth, your privacy is protected.
  • Look out for the Good to Go scheme logo. It shows if a business has carried out a Covid-19 risk assessment. Businesses will also be able to tell you what safety measure will be in place when you visit.
  • Respect, Protect, Enjoy: Please be considerate of local communities when travelling. Protect yourself and others by following health and safety guidelines. Support your local tourism industry and consider exploring off the beaten path if a place gets too busy.
  • If you explore the outdoors, whether on foot, by bike, or even on the water, please respect our landscapes. The Scottish Outdoor Access Code applies all year-round and offers great advice on how to enjoy our places safely.

If you develop symptoms:

  • 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.

Travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK is allowed. However, there is a green, amber and red list for arrivals from outside the UK. International visitors arriving from Green listed countries into Scotland will need to provide proof of a negative Covid-19, taken no more than 72 hours before travel. Those arriving from Amber listed countries will need to quarantine for 10 days on arrival, and no travel from Red listed countries is currently allowed. Check what restrictions apply to you with the full list of countries who can travel to Scotland. You will need to provide contact and journey details during your travels.

When travelling to and around Scotland, you may encounter transport disruptions or new guidelines. Check with your car rental company for any additional information you may need. Further information and current schedules for public transport networks in the Lothians, the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway are available from ScotRail, Lothian Buses, Borders Buses and Dumfries & Galloway Council

Always make sure you stay up to date with the latest official government advice.


Further Information

  • We must all do our part in preventing the transmission of COVID-19, and it is crucial to follow guidance on preventative measures. Visit the NHS website for information on how to keep yourself and others safe, as well as frequently asked questions. 
  • Up to date advice for tourism businesses is available through the Scottish Tourism Association (STA) and VisitScotland. The SSDA are also offering support to businesses in Dumfries & Galloway and the Scottish Borders.
  • Visit the official UK government website for additional up to date information on safety measures, support for businesses and advice for travellers.