16 March 2021 – First Minister's update on Covid-19 restrictions

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has today presented more detail on Scotland’s timetable of easing Covid-19 restrictions, by giving indicative dates for reopening the economy and society as well as more detail on future business support.  All dates are subject to review and depend on the situation with infections, vaccine rollout and hospital capacity.

We cautiously welcome the detail provided which gives many of our members dates to work towards to reopen parts of their businesses. We will be seeking clarity from the government and pushing for greater relaxation of the rules at Level 0 for self-catering accommodation which have appropriate Covid safeguards in place - currently the timetable appears to limit holiday properties to a maximum of three households at Level 0. This will impact many larger self-catering properties.


2 April 2021

  • Lifting of “Stay at Home” order to be replaced by,” Stay Local”, meaning travel will be permitted within your local authority area.
  • Also 4 adults from 2 households can continue to meet outdoors.

5 April 2021

  • Phased re-opening of non-essential retail eg homeware and garden centres
  • Click and collect can return.


“mid April”

  • Supplies permitting, all in the 9 priority groups should have received their first vaccine

26 April

  • All parts of Scotland should move into level 3, islands already in level 3 will have the option to move to level 2.
  • Restrictions on journeys within Scotland will be lifted, cross Border travel may be lifted, this will be kept under review.
  • All remaining retail, tourism and hospitality may re-open.
  • Non-essential work in homes can re-commence.
  • Limits on those attending weddings & funerals will rise to 50.
  • Outdoor socialising of up to 6 people from 3 households allowed (under 11s do not count in total)
  • Cafes restaurants and bars can re-open outdoors until 10pm, with alcohol service permitted
  • Limited indoor opening allowed with service of food and non-alcoholic drinks – 4 adults from 2 household limit, contact details must be retained by the venue.
  • Those on shielding lists can return to work

17 May

  • Scotland to hopefully move to level 2.
  • Hospitality further re-opening indoors, with an assessment closer to the time
  • Adult Outdoor contact sports and and indoor group exercise, along with certain indoor events may re-start, subject to capacity limits.
  • Potential to meet inside houses, 4 people from 2 households max

Early June

  • Scotland moves to level 1

End of June

  • Scotland moves to level 0


Guidance on the restrictions in each of the five levels can be found on the Scottish Government Covid Support Page, as well as the dedicated SLE member support pages, along with more information on business support packages.


Business support

There will be 100% rates relief available for retail hospitality and leisure businesses for the coming year.

The Strategic Business Framework fund will make final payments on 22  March and then close. On 19 April a closure support and restart payment will be made to eligible businesses, up to £7,500 for retail and up to £19,500 for eligible hospitality and leisure businesses. We will work hard to get clarity and confirm eligibility for members in the near future, although it is likely to be only open to those who were eligible for the Strategic Business Framework fund.


It is worth noting that self-catering accommodation is treated in the same way as a family home therefore there will be tight restrictions on the number of people and households which are allowed to mix within them, which may severely restrict many self-catering providers. Even in Level 0, there is a limit of up to eight people from three households. We will work with our network of stakeholders and government to press the importance of self catering in rural areas and the impact this will have, not only on the businesses of providers but also other local supply companies and businesses.

Responsible access

Leading up to the Easter weekend, as the ‘Stay Home’ message is relaxed to ‘Stay Local’ members may see an influx of visitors wishing to take access. We have a range of access signage on our website available for members to download for free and print at home. Alternatively you can order them to be made for a small fee. Please also consider attending our free roundtable event which will offer ideas and insight into encouraging the public to be responsible when taking access.