Christmas Covid Restrictions

I've outlined below changes and FAQs relating to the tighter restrictions over Christmas and New Year.

Coronavirus and Christmas Restrictions

There are common themes to recent queries which I hope provide clarity below.


  1. Extended households continue. If you are in an extended household (not a Christmas bubble)- where one household bubbles up with someone who is living alone or a single parent with children, that continues. You are allowed to travel between each home (even if one of those homes is in England) and stay overnight with each other.
  2. Shared parenting contact arrangements are unaffected by any level of contact. Sustaining these arrangements are exempt from all travel restrictions.
  3. Still awaiting clarity but it is likely that Nurseries will follow schools and only be open to children, where both parents are key workers until at least 18th Jan.
  4. Informal childcare (eg grandparents) is permitted in L4 but only where it is essential eg children of key workers.


Special update on new rules for the festive period



Due to concerns around an emerging and more contagious strain of Covid-19, the Scottish Government have amended plans for the festive period.

  • the planned easing of restrictions around Christmas will be limited to Christmas Day itself, and not the previous 5 day window that was planned
  • legal household limits will still apply - a maximum of 8 people from 3 households - however advice is to minimise the numbers. Where possible, people should celebrate the festive period at home in their own household and meet with others outdoors
  • other than for specific exemptions, travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK will not be legal
  • travel within Scotland will be allowed on Christmas Day
  • from Boxing Day, all of Scotland will have Level 4 restrictions applied, including the closure of non-essential retail and hospitality. The only exceptions will be Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles, and the other island communities where restrictions have been reduced in recent weeks, who will be placed in Level 3
  • from Boxing Day, in line with existing law, travel across local authority boundaries between areas in Level 3 or 4 will not be legal other than for specific exempt purposes

Please the reduction of the relaxation period to Christmas day will be enshrined in law, which should allow travel/accommodation cancellation and refund.



Please note that level 4 has been enhanced for this period- particularly with regard to schools.



  • For the majority of pupils the holiday period will be extended until 11 January and learning will begin online from then until at least 18 January.
  • Teachers will return to work as planned on the original term dates
  • Children of key workers and the most vulnerable children, will return to schools as planned.

Universities and colleges: contact your place of study for their specific plans.




  • All hospitality and non-essential retail to close. Hospitality can function on a take away basis only.
  • Working from home now mandatory unless you are a key worker- outdoor work places, construction and manufacturing can continue.
  • All close contact services – e.g. hairdressers to close.
  • Socialising – you can meet 6 people from 2 households outdoors.
  • All leisure and entertainment venues to close.
  • Travel out of the region only permitted for essential purposes.
  • Public transport to only be used for essential purposes only.
  • No Driving lessons.
  • Places of worship continue but restricted to 20.
  • Shielding- follow guidance supplied to you through the shielding list and from your clinician.

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