Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advice for Travellers to Midlothian and the Scottish Borders

by Scotland Starts Here, 19th March 2020
Gladhouse Reservoir | Penicuik.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advice for Travellers to Midlothian and the Scottish Borders

Last updated: Tuesay, 22 September 2020

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


Key Information

  • From 15th July, tourism and hospitality businesses are allowed to reopen.
  • Check your plans before you travel, as events and activities may have been postponed or cancelled
  • Check directly with venues, businesses and attractions for up to date information on opening times, closures and restrictions
  • 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 Midlothian and the Scottish Borders? 

Yes. On 23rd March, UK wide lockdown measures were announced. The restrictions will be relaxed according to a phased plan, set out by the Scottish Government. The timings of each phase are not confirmed, so always check the Scottish Government updates. The route map is dynamic, so details will change and evolve with the situation. Check the current details below:

The Scottish tourism industry is reopening from 15th July, and we are excited to welcome visitors back to Midlothian and the Scottish Borders. Please keep in mind that businesses may set an individual reopening schedule, change 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. 

Meeting friends and family:

  • You can meet with one other household outdoors, with a maximum of 6 people. Children under 12 are not counted within this limit.
  • You can not meet with other households in your own home. This also applies to self-catering accommodation. There are some exceptions for extended households and caretakers.
  • However, you can meet with one other household, with a maximum of 6 people, in indoor hospitality venues, such as cafes, restaurants, pubs. Children under 12 are not counted within this limit.

What’s open:

The Scottish tourism industry is reopening and you are allowed to travel. Whatever your plans, please make sure you stay safe and follow official as well as businesses’ individual Covid guidelines.

  • Accommodation: Hotels, self-catering, campsites etc.
  • Outdoor Activities: Cycling, hiking, walking, watersports, fishing, horse riding, golf etc.
  • Attractions: Castles, historic houses, museums, galleries, parks, gardens, monuments etc.
  • Food & Drink: Cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars are open but required to close at 10 p.m., starting Friday, 25 September 2020.

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.
  • 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.

Previous travel restrictions have been lifted, and accommodation is reopening. Visitors from the UK and many other countries can travel to and around Scotland and do not need to quarantine on arrival. Check if this applies to you with the full list of countries who can travel to Scotland without quarantine. 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 and the Scottish Borders are available from ScotRail, Lothian Buses and Borders Buses

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. MBTAG are also offering support to businesses in Midlothian 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.