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Coronavirus - meeting people

This advice applies to Scotland

There are 5 protection levels the government can apply in Scotland.

The protection levels are 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4. 

All of Scotland is in protection level 0, and there are rules about meeting people. 

The police have powers to enforce the protection level rules, including by breaking up large gatherings or fining people. 

Find out more about what you can do, like playing sport, in the Scottish government’s level 0 guidance.

The rules in other parts of the UK might be different. You should follow the rules for the part of the UK you're in.

Meeting people from other households in level 0

There are limits to the number of people and households that can meet at home and in public places.

There are different rules for children under 12.

At home

You can meet in groups of:

  • up to 8 people from up to 4 households indoors, in your home or theirs. You can stay overnight in each other’s homes
  • up to 15 people from 15 households outdoors in gardens.

You don’t need to distance from people from other households.

In public places

You can meet in groups of:

  • up to 10 people from up to 4 households indoors – for example in restaurants or pubs. You should stay 1 metre apart from people from other households, even if you’re socialising with them
  • up to 15 people from 15 households outdoors - for example in parks or outdoor seating at restaurants. You don’t have to distance from people in your group, but you should stay 1 metre apart from people in other groups.

Children under 12

Children under 12 don’t count towards the number of people or households meeting at home or in public places.

They don’t have to stay 1 metre away from other people.

If you're on the shielding list

You can follow the same rules for meeting people and forming an extended household as others in your local council area.

You can find more information in the shielding guidance on

Forming an extended household 

Your household can choose to join 1 other household and form an 'extended household'. This might also be called a 'social bubble' or 'support bubble'.

You can treat people in your extended household as part of your household, and you count as 1 household. For example, you can: 

Scottish government guidance says that only some people should form an extended household. You can form an extended household if you're:

  • living alone
  • the only adult living with children aged under 18 - for example, a single parent
  • in a couple who don't live together.

You can only be in 1 extended household.

If you decide to stop being an extended household, you should wait at least 14 days before forming a new extended household.

If you have coronavirus symptoms, you should book a test and all members of the extended household should self-isolate and book a test if they've had contact with you. Check NHS inform’s guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection.

Looking after children 

There are rules about who can look after children and when children can move between households.

Children moving between their parents' homes

If you live in a different home from your child’s other parent, you can continue to share childcare. The government has said children under 18 can move between their parents’ homes. This includes if you live in different protection levels in Scotland or another part of the UK.  

It’s important to think about your child’s health, how they feel about moving between households and whether there are vulnerable members of either household.

If there’s a court order or formal agreement in place, you should try to stick to those arrangements. If you decide it’s best to change the agreement, you can do this. Write down any change you agree, for example in a note, email or text.

If you have an informal arrangement, you should discuss what to do with your child’s other parent.

It might not be safe to maintain in-person contact if 1 household has symptoms and all the members of the household need to self-isolate. You could use phone or video call instead.

Read more about coronavirus and shared parenting on Parent Club.

Looking after children in your extended household  

You can form an extended household with 1 other household and your child can move between the homes in your extended household.

If you live in a different home from your child’s other parent, you can each form an extended household separately. Your child can be part of both extended households as long as they’re under 18.

Looking after children of friends or family outside your household

A friend or family member from another household can look after your child in their home or yours. 

You can check ParentClub for guidance about childcare during coronavirus

Travelling within Scotland

You can travel to other parts of Scotland.

Before you travel to a Scottish island, you should:

  • take a COVID-19 test 3 days before travelling
  • take another test on the day you plan to travel.

Find out how to book a test on the Scottish government website.

Travelling to other parts of the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Ireland

You can travel between Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Ireland. But you should check what the local rules are before you go.

Find out more about the rules and reasons you can travel on the Scottish government website.

If you’ve entered the UK in the last 10 days, you might need to follow different rules. Find out the rules if you enter the UK from abroad

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