Covid-19 roadmap – when can I reopen my business in Scotland?

Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has laid out the next steps of her roadmap to ease Covid-19 restrictions for businesses from April

UPDATED: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has set out the next part of her plan to ease lockdown restrictions for individuals and businesses in Scotland.

Like Johnson’s roadmap, Sturgeon wants to focus on getting children back to school first, opening the economy at a later stage. She outlined the first steps three weeks ago, but there is now greater confidence to lay out more easing plans. However, she warns that ‘care and caution continue to be essential’. As before, these easing measures depend on factors like the efficacy of the vaccine rollout and Covid-19 case numbers.

Further announcements will be made in the coming weeks, but here’s what we know about Scotland’s Covid-19 roadmap so far.

April 2

  • ‘Stay at home’ message replaced with ‘stay local’ message for three weeks. That means travel outside the local authority area isn’t permitted

April 5

We could see some early easing of business restrictions towards the beginning of April.

  • Phased reopening of non-essential retail
  • Click and collect retail services resume
  • Garden centres reopen
  • Electrical repair shops reopen
  • Baby equipment shops reopen
  • Homeware stores reopen
  • Car showrooms and forecourts reopen
  • Hairdressers and barbers (not mobile services) reopen for appointments only

April 26

From the end of April, more substantial changes could be made, with those in level 4 moving into a modified level 3.

  • All remaining retail and close contact services reopen
  • Hospitality reopens – alcohol can be served outside without food, 10pm closing; limited indoor reopening – food served without alcohol, 8pm curfew. Still need to take customer details and keep them for three weeks after serving them
  • Libraries, museums and galleries reopen
  • Driving lessons resume
  • Tourist accommodation to reopen (self-catering accommodation to be restricted in line with rules on indoor gathering)
  • Those who are shielding can return to work
  • Non-essential work permitted in people’s homes
  • Weddings and funerals for up to 50 people (including wakes and receptions with no alcohol permitted)
  • Restrictions on journeys in mainland Scotland lifted. May need to impose restrictions to protect islands. Journeys to rest of UK could be lifted, dependent on circumstances
  • Social mixing in indoor public places will be subject to maximum of four people from up to two households. The prohibition of in-home socialising will continue to be kept under review at this time

May 17

From May 17, it’s hoped that those in level 3 can move to level 2.

  • Hospitality opening times change to 10:30pm indoors – customers can stay for two hours with alcohol permitted – and 10pm outdoors with alcohol permitted
  • Indoor group exercise resumes
  • Cinemas, amusement arcades and bingo halls reopen
  • Small outdoor and indoor events can go ahead with capacity limits
  • Face-to-face support services resume
  • Amateur performance arts resume outdoors

No concrete decisions have been made on international travel. The Government is in discussions with the aviation industry as to when journeys can happen again. It may not be possible on May 17 because of worsening circumstances in Europe.

June 1

From the beginning of June, it’s hoped that Scotland can move to level 1 and then on to level 0 at the end of the month.

That would mean that hospitality could open until 11pm from early June and a phased return of some office staff could start from the end of June.

More attendance at public events and life events could increase in line with capacity restrictions in June.

Financial support for businesses in Scotland

The Scottish Government will replace the current Strategic Framework Business Fund (SFBF) with a Scottish version of the Restart Grant.

  • On March 22, the Government will make one final four-weekly payment of the SFBF, with no new claims permitted
  • On April 19, it will automatically give all SFBF recipients a combined two-week supplement and a one-off restart grant. It’ll be up to £7,500 for eligible retail premises; and up to £19,500 for eligible hospitality and leisure businesses.

The infrastructure for the SFBF will be kept in place and used as required in future for business support linked to any local outbreaks.

Read more

What coronavirus business support is available from the government?

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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