Travel advice – Covid-19

Today, 28th of May, we have officially entered phase 1 of the four phase routemap out of lockdown in Scotland. You can view all four phases here:

Phase 1

We are set to move to Phase 1 following the 28 May end-of-cycle review of the COVID-19 regulations, if the evidence supports that. In Phase 1, the virus would not be fully contained. There is a continued risk of overwhelming NHS capacity without significant restrictions remaining in place. To progress to Phase 1, R must have been below 1 for at least 2 weeks and the number of infectious cases starting to decline. There should also be a sustained reduction in new infections, hospital admissions, ICU admissions, deaths (WHO Criterion 1). Test and Protect capacity will be ramped up, with staff being recruited and digital systems being designed.

During Phase 1 a number of changes to the rules would be made – potentially over more than one review cycle (after 28 May, the next review cycle concludes on 18 June). Some of these changes would be to guidance and some to regulations. In addition, a number of public services that had either been paused or scaled back because of the crisis would now be resumed or expanded. The rules set out in the previous (Lockdown) phase apply except as set out below.

Seeing family and friends: We are planning in this phase to change regulations to permit people to use public outdoor spaces for recreational purposes, for example to sit in a public space. We are also planning for one household to meet up with another household outdoors, in small numbers, including in gardens, but with physical distancing required.

Getting around: Consistent with the reopening of workplaces set out in this phase, where home working is not possible businesses and organisations are encouraged to manage travel demand through staggered start times and flexible working patterns. 

You will also be permitted to travel short distances for outdoor leisure and exercise but advice to stay within a short distance of your local community and travel by walk, wheel and cycle where possible. 

International border health measures are set to be introduced. 

Schools, childcare and other educational settings: We are planning in this phase to change guidance so that staff can return to schools and for an increased number of children to access critical childcare provision including the re-opening of child minding services and fully outdoor nursery provision. We are planning to make support available to pupils at key transition points, e.g. those due to start P1 or S1 where possible. 

Working or running a business: In this phase we are planning for remote working to remain the default position for those who can. 

For those workplaces that are reopening, employers should encourage staggered start times and flexible working.

We are also planning for outdoor workplaces to resume with physical distancing measures in place once guidance is agreed. 

We are also planning for the construction sector to implement the first two phases in its restart plan with a decision to move to ‘phase 2’ of the construction sector’s plan only after consulting with government to ensure it is safe to do so and in line with public health advice.

Preparing for the safe reopening of the housing market.

Workplaces resuming in the following phases can undertake preparatory work on physical distancing and hygiene measures in this phase. 

Shopping, eating and drinking out: In this phase we are planning the gradual opening of drive through food outlets as well as the re-opening of garden centres and plant nurseries with physical distancing. Associated cafes (e.g. in garden centres) should not reopen at this stage except for take away. 

Sport, culture and leisure activities: In this phase we are planning to allow unrestricted outdoors exercise adhering to distancing measures and non-contact outdoor activities in the local area – such as golf, hiking, canoeing, outdoor swimming, angling – consistent with the wider rules and guidance applicable to any activity in this phase. 

Community and public services We are planning the gradual resumption of key support services in the community. We are expecting to restart face-to-face Children’s Hearings and for there to be greater direct contact for social work and support services with at risk groups and families, and for there to be access to respite/day care to support unpaid carers and for families with a disabled family member. All of these would involve appropriate physical distancing and hygiene measures.

We are planning for the opening of Household Waste Recycling Centres.

Court and tribunal buildings open, with limited business and public access.

Gatherings and occasions: In this phase we are expecting no public gatherings except for meetings of two households and then only outdoors and with physical distancing.

Health and Social Care: In this phase we expect to begin the safe restart of NHSservices, covering primary, and community services including mental health. 

We are also planning on retaining COVID-free GP services and planning a further scale up of digital consultations. 

We expect to roll out the NHS Pharmacy First Scotland service in community pharmacies and increased care offered at emergency dental hubs as practices prepare to open. We will also restart, where possible, urgent electives previously paused. And there will be a resumption of IVF treatment following the approval of Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

There will be an increase provision of emergency eyecare in the community. 

We will consider the introduction of designated visitors to care homes.

The Test and Protect system will be available across the country.


Travel is still very much restricted. Our associates at Starfish Taxis operate a pre-booked social distant taxi service and you can find more here:

Relating to taxis the following rules apply (,CF4Q,3LI84R,1E9M8,1#section-63887):

Taxis and Private Hire vehicles

Plan your journey

It is important that you plan your journey. Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle operators may have put in place new measures to help with physical distancing. You should check what new measures apply. You may wish to confirm payment arrangements to avoid, if possible, cash transactions.

We recommend before starting your journey you wash or sanitise your hands.

On your journey

At taxi ranks you should try to keep a 2 metre distance from others. If you come within 2 metres of others, you should avoid physical contact and keep the time you spend within 2 metres of others as short as possible.

You should wear a face covering when using a taxi or private hire vehicle as a consideration to your driver. The wearing of a face covering for very young children or those with particular conditions is not appropriate. See further guidance on face-covering.

You should also be aware of the surfaces, like door handles, you or others touch.

Be considerate to your driver by taking all your belongings and rubbish when leaving the vehicle.

Completing your journey

When finishing your journey, you should deposit any of your used tissues or rubbish in bins. We recommend you wash or sanitise your hands (and children’s hands if you are travelling with them) as soon as possible.

Private cars and other vehicles

Plan your journey

It is important that you plan your journey and check the latest travel advice on your route via trafficscotland.

Try to stay as local as possible to your home unless you are traveling for work purposes. Routes may be different as local authorities make changes to enable physical distancing on pavements and cycle routes.

On your journey

Good ventilation particularly by keeping the car windows open and facing away from fellow passengers may help to reduce the risk of transmission.

You should be aware of the surfaces within your vehicle that you or others touch. If the vehicle is your responsibility you should clean regularly areas such as the steering wheel and door handles.

When driving, you should anticipate more pedestrians and cyclists than usual, especially at peak times of day. You should allow other road users to maintain physical distancing by, for example, giving cyclists room for a 2 metre separation at traffic lights.

You should limit the time you spend at garages, petrol stations and motorway services. You should keep a 2 metre distance from others and pay by contactless methods, if possible.

You should wash or sanitise your hands before your journey and if you are the driver you should encourage passengers to do likewise.

Completing your journey

When finishing your journey, we recommend you wash or sanitise your hands as soon as possible and ensure that keys or fobs are also cleaned regularly.

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