Scotland’s path out of lockdown: what are the new Phase 2 measures?

In Scotland, we are currently in Phase 2 of gradually easing lockdown restrictions, as set out in the Scottish Government’s route map out of lockdown. 

Together, we’ve made substantial progress in suppressing the virus – which was made possible by the efforts and sacrifices we’ve all been making.

We can continue making that progress and saving lives if we carry on with sticking to the rules.

Here’s all you need to know about Phase 2, what the new rules are, and what it means for you.

Guide to re-opening and scaling up over the course of Scottish Government's phase 2
Graphic guide to re-opening and scaling up over the course of Scottish Government’s Phase 2


The 5-mile travel limit for leisure travel has now been lifted for most of the country

You can now travel further afield to visit other parts of Scotland for leisure purposes, as the 5-mile travel limit has been lifted.

Self-sustained holiday cottages, lodges and caravans with no shared facilities can also now re-open, while the rest of tourism is set to fully re-open from 15 July.

This doesn’t apply to parts of Dumfries and Galloway, highlighted below, where we’re applying precautionary measures to contain a local outbreak and prevent any further spread of the virus. The Scottish Government will give a further update on that on Monday, July 6.

Face coverings will be mandatory in shops from 10 July

Following the introduction of mandatory face coverings on public transport, the measures will be extended to all retail settings from Friday, 10 July.

This will ensure we can suppress transmission rates even further and take away more opportunities for the virus to spread. By wearing a face covering in shops and public transport, we’re all safer.

Seeing family and friends

In Phase 2, you are be able to meet outdoors with larger groups up to 2 different households – including family and friends – as long as you follow physical distancing.

However, it is still advised to meet with no more than 8 people in one group.

Non-cohabiting couples, where at least one of them lives alone, are also now be able to reunite indoors without physical distancing.

Impact on those shielding

Anyone who was shielding, unless they live in a nursing or residential care home, are able to go outdoors for exercise and take part in non-contact outdoor activities such as golf and hiking.

Individuals in the shielding group are also now able to meet outside with one other household in a group of up to 8 people outside. Those shielding should however still only work from home and avoid shops, pharmacies and other settings where physical distancing is difficult to maintain.

When undertaking any activities, you should:

  • maintain strict physical distancing of at least 2 metres (3 steps) at all times, even if you live with the person you’re out with
  • choose times and areas that are quiet, if possible
  • wash your hands for at least 20 seconds as soon as you get back home

Travelling and getting around

People can now get around across Scotland, as the 5-mile travel restriction has been lifted, with the exception of limited areas within Dumfries and Galloway due to ongoing precautionary measures in light of a local outbreak.

Outdoor businesses, such as zoos and garden attractions, can also now open – although tickets should be purchased in advance where possible.

Public transport is operating increased services but with a still reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing. Travelling at peak times, where possible, is still be discouraged.

Face coverings are now mandatory on all public transport, including taxis and private hire cabs, so that all of us can keep suppressing the virus.

Working or running a business

In Phase 2, remote working (working from home) should still remain the default position for those who can – and businesses should start putting in place staggered work times, flexible working and other arrangements to ensure that staff are safe when they do gradually return to work at a later stage.

Indoor non-office-based workplaces, such as manufacturing, warehouses and lab/research facilities can now re-open – as long as workplaces adhere to physical distancing and follow the relevant guidance to keep employees safe.

Schools, childcare and other educational settings

In Phase 1, more children were able to access critical childcare provision – such as child minding services and outdoor nurseries – while more support has been made available to pupils at key transition points, e.g. those due to start P1 or S1.

In Phase 2, university lab research is be able to restart – subject to physical distancing – while we’re continuing the work to adapt schools with the aim of returning to face-to-face teaching from August 11, as long as it’s safe to do so.

Shopping, eating out and drinking

Previously closed retail units (but not indoor shopping centres apart from access to essential shops such as supermarkets and pharmacies), as well as outdoor markets, have been allowed to re-open since 29 June – with physical distancing, hygiene measures and controls on numbers of people in place.

Outdoor hospitality facilities, such as beer gardens and pavement cafes, can re-open from Monday, 6 July – as long as they comply with the 2-metre physical distancing guidance and put extra safety measures in place.

Gatherings and occasions

In Phase 2, we have allowed the gradual re-opening of registration offices for high priority tasks, while marriages, civil partnerships and other types of ceremonies are also now able to take place with a limited number of people attending.

Places of worship are also be able to open for private prayer with improved hygiene safeguards.

Health and social care

NHS Health Boards and Integrated Joint Boards are implementing their remobilisation plans to increase the provision for urgent referrals and the triage of routine services.

Phase 2 also saw the resuming of some chronic disease management, with pain and diabetic services included where it’s possible, and prioritised referrals to secondary care are gradually beginning.

We are also expanding the range of GP services, dental services, and increase the number of home visits to shielded patients.

Public health guidance

Physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, are the most important and effective measures we can all adopt to suppress the spread of this virus and save lives.

We must all play our part in suppressing the virus – and by sticking to the rules in each phase, all of us can help to do that.

It will also ensure that together, we can move more quickly and more safely to the next phases out of lockdown.

Remember the key guidance:

  • Stay 2 metres apart from people in other households
  • Wear face coverings in enclosed spaces, such as public transport and shops
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19 – a new continuous cough, a fever, or a loss or change of taste or smell, book a test and self-isolate immediately
  • You can book a test at or by phoning NHS24 on 0800 028 2816.