Scotland: lockdown January 2021

Posted on the 7th January 2021

Photo credit: Claire Charras

We have put together a summary of some of the key updates of concern to reuse charities and social enterprises in Scotland.

Businesses and venues (Scotland)

COVID-19 Level 4: businesses and workplaces that must close

To reduce the spread of COVID-19 the following businesses and workplaces in Level 4 local authority areas must close:

  • hospitality venues such as restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars – with the exception of providing food and drink for takeaway (face coverings and physical distancing rules must be followed), hotels serving food to qualifying guests staying in their premises (key or exempt workers) up to 10pm, and room service including alcohol See: guidance for the tourism and hospitality sector. There is an exemption food and drink businesses located in Level 4 areas providing services for the purpose of a marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration, or in connection with a funeral, subject to curfew
  • non-essential retail and library premises, tanning salons, or premises which operate self-tanning machines or spray-tan booths, travel agencies and retail ‘showrooms’ such as kitchen/bathroom/furniture/glazing where you “browse” but order for the future, to members of the public – you can continue making deliveries or otherwise providing collection services in response to orders received and paid for through a website, or otherwise by on-line communication, by telephone, including orders by text message, or by post;
  • The previously permitted category of “homeware, building supplies and hardware stores” has been replaced with “building merchants and suppliers of products and tools used in building work and repairs”.  Garden Centres and plant nurseries have also been removed from the list of essential retail
  • Holiday accommodation such as hotels, hostels, bed and breakfast accommodation, holiday homes and apartments, cottages or bungalows, campsites, caravan parks or boarding houses must cease to carry on that business. This does not prevent holiday accommodation from being provided to anyone who is unable to return to their main residence, uses that accommodation as their main residence, is living in that accommodation for work purposes, needs accommodation while moving house, needs accommodation to attend a funeral, to the homeless or to support services for the homeless, to host blood donation sessions, or for any purpose requested by the Scottish Ministers or a local authority
  • entertainment and leisure venues including cinemas, nightclubs, dance halls, discotheques, concert halls, sexual entertainment venues, indoor or outdoor theatres, comedy clubs, museums and galleries, soft play, bingo halls, funfairs, amusement arcades, casinos, betting shops, conference and exhibition centres, snooker and pool halls, sports stadiums, bowling alleys, skating rinks indoor fitness studios, gyms, swimming pools or other indoor leisure centres or facilities, and any other venue which normally opens at night, has a dance floor or other space for dancing or spectating by members of the public and provides music, whether live or recorded
  • premises which provide a close contact service and mobile close contact services including hairdressing and barber services, beauty and nail services (including make-up services), hair removal services, tattoo, piercing and body modification services, fashion design, dress-fitting and tailoring services, indoor portrait photography and art services, massage therapies, but not sports massage provided only to professional sportspersons, complementary and alternative medicine services requiring physical contact or close physical proximity between persons, but not osteopathy and chiropractic services, spa and wellness services, other services or procedures which require physical contact or close physical proximity between a provider and a customer and are not ancillary to medical, health, or social care services. Mobile close contact service means a close contact service which is provided at a location other than a fixed business premises which have as one of their uses the provision of the service, a room which is used exclusively for the provision of the service and is situated within a private dwelling, hospice, or other care settings.

These premises, while closed to members of the public can be used to record a performance or sporting event, broadcast a performance or sporting event to persons outside the premises, whether over the internet or as part of a radio or television broadcast, or rehearse, train, practice or otherwise prepare for a performance or sporting event, for education or training purposes, for providing voluntary or charitable services, for any purpose requested by the Scottish Ministers, a health board, a local authority or the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, to host blood donation sessions, or used for the purposes of professional sport.

For driving instruction, lessons, including motorcycle lessons, must not be held unless all occupants of the vehicle or vehicles are from the same household. Driving instructors must not travel outside their local authority area to provide lessons.

COVID-19 Level 4: businesses and workplaces that can remain open

In Level 4 all workplaces, public and private sector, even those providing essential services, should as far as possible work from home. Not every activity within a national infrastructure sector is ‘critical’ within a workplace setting and could be performed remotely.

Essential services are the fundamental services that underpin daily life and ensure the country continues to function see Critical national infrastructure.

Where businesses are in the CNI category and judge themselves to be exempt from closure of business premises, not all of their operations may count as essential.

Workplaces should plan to have the minimum levels of staff physically present to maintain production/services. Where those businesses can operate effectively through home working, that practice should be the default position.

Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) sectors

Critical National Industry (CNI) sectors are the fundamental services that underpin daily life and ensure the country continues to function. There are 13 designated CNI sectors:

  •  energy
  • communications – telecommunications, public broadcast, postal services, internet
  • government – national and local government and their services
  • transport
  • finance
  • civil nuclear
  • defence
  • chemicals –this includes biotech/life science and those supporting directed response to Covid-19 supporting Remobilise, Recover and Redesign framework for NHS and Scotland’s Test and Protect priorities
  • space
  • health
  • food – this refers to food and drink supply and production – which includes agriculture and food production and activity to maintain the food supply chain
  • water and waste – including recycling – the collection, transportation, sorting, and treatment of waste
  • emergency services

However, not every activity within a national infrastructure sector organisation is ‘critical’ and must be undertaken in the workplace. Homeworking should be encouraged where possible.

The default position at all levels and across all sectors, public and private, including CNI sectors is home working wherever possible. Where that is not possible businesses and organisations are encouraged to manage travel demand through staggered start times and flexible working patterns.

Find out more about Critical National Infrastructure sectors on the Ready Scotland website.

Other businesses and workplaces that can stay open in Level 4

Other businesses and workplaces are permitted to stay open, following COVID-19 guidance and safety measures:

  • food retailers, including food markets, supermarkets, convenience stores and corner shops
  • food takeaways
  • off-licenses and licensed shops selling alcohol (including breweries)
  • pharmacies (including non-dispensing pharmacies) and chemists
  • newsagents
  • building merchants and suppliers of products and tools used in building work and repairs
  • petrol stations
  • car repair and MOT services including supply of parts
  • bicycle shops
  • Sport and physical activity-related workplaces – including outdoor sports facilities, golf courses, outdoor gyms, and those used for the purpose of professional sport.  Workplaces involved in facilitating outdoor non-contact exercises such as coaches and personal trainers.
  • taxi or vehicle hire businesses
  • banks, building societies, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs, cash points and undertakings which by way of business operate a currency exchange office, transmit money (or any representation of money) by any means or cash cheques which are made payable to customers
  • post offices
  • crematoriums, burial grounds and funeral directors
  • laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • dental services, opticians, audiology services, chiropody services, chiropractors, osteopaths and other medical or health services, including services relating to mental health, this does not include massage therapy and complementary alternative medicine providers
  • pet shops, suppliers of animal feed and bedding, veterinary practices, mobile vets, veterinary laboratories, wholesalers of vet medicines/supplies, pet crematoria, equestrian centres and other direct activities required  to prevent or treat animal suffering including grooming, exercising and general care including day care
  • agricultural supplies shops and agricultural markets
  • pest control
  • storage and distribution facilities, including delivery drop off or collection points, where the facilities are in the premises of a business included in this list
  • car parks
  • public toilets
  • waste including recycling and the collection, transportation, sorting, and treatment of waste
  • livestock markets or auctions
  • outdoor markets and outdoor car lots


In addition workplaces in the following sectors/organisations can remain open but should as with other businesses be operating on a work from home basis wherever possible:

  • security and safety sectors
  • organisations and businesses involved in home or business moves including those involved in purchase, sale, letting or rental
  • outdoor workplaces
  • construction
  • manufacturing,
  • film and TV production
  • laboratories
  • formal child care provision
  • work in people’s homes can continue for essential services

Businesses that can continue to operate at Level 4 must:

  • ensure that work from home is the default position, particularly with regards to staff who are assessed as at possible risk – where working from home is not possible businesses and organisations are encouraged to manage travel demand through staggered start times and flexible working patterns
  • plan for the minimum number of people needed on site to operate safely and effectively and maintain their service/operations
  • ensure all regulations and guidance is adhered to by staff and customers/visitors to site
  • ensure 2 metres physical distancing, good ventilation, the wearing of face coverings and effective hand and respiratory hygiene should be maintained where possible – these are the most effective means of preventing transmission of the virus
  • there is specific guidance for accommodation of workers that should be followed: Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on workers’ accommodation

Government guidance: Scottish lockdown

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