UPDATE: SCOTLAND’S NEW MEASURES TO REDUCE SPREAD OF COVID-19

On 22nd September 2020 new nationwide measures were announced by the Scottish Government to protect the population from the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in response to rising number of cases in Scotland and across the UK.

Full details of the the latest guidance is available on the Scottish Government’s website: www.gov.scot/news/new-measures-to-drive-down-infection-rate/

Answers to some frequently asked questions about the guidance on Scotland’s latest Covid-19 restrictions are available below:

HOUSEHOLD MEETING RULES

What are the new meeting rules for socialising indoors?

You cannot meet people from any other households indoors in your home or another person’s home socially, unless they are in your extended household. These rules also apply to children, however children whose parents do not live in the same household can move between homes. Exemptions apply for childcare.

What are the exemptions to the rule?

The rules apply to people meeting socially. The current approach to exemptions for informal childcare and shared parenting and tradespersons will continue. Children whose parents do not live in the same household can move between homes.

Can I meet people socially in other settings indoors?

You can meet people from one other household at a time, up to a maximum of 6 people, in public indoor spaces such as cafes, pubs and restaurants. Children under 12 from the two households meeting do not count towards the maximum of 6 people.

What about vulnerable people, can I visit their home?

You can go into someone’s house to provide essential care or support such as delivering shopping, but you should be careful to follow good hygiene measures.

What are the new household meeting rules for outdoors?

A maximum of 6 people from 2 households will still be permitted to meet together outdoors – including outside areas of, pubs and restaurants – and outdoors including in private gardens. There will be some limited exemptions. Children under 12 won’t count towards the 2 household limit or the limit of 6 people.

Children aged 12-17 can meet in a group of up to 6 people who are all aged under 18 outdoors. Physical distancing is still required. This position will be monitored carefully and reviewed based evidence of transmission and incidence of the virus in this age group.

Can I enter someone’s house in order to reach their garden / use their toilet?

If you are meeting another household in their garden, you should only go into their house to:

  • access the garden – do so quickly and without touching anything
  • use the toilet – avoid touching surfaces with your hands as much as possible, wipe any surfaces that you do touch with antibacterial wipes, wash your hands thoroughly, dry your hands with a freshly laundered towel or a paper towel  which you should dispose of in a closed bin.

What are the new household meeting rules for children and young people?

Children under 12 from the two households meeting outdoors do not count in the maximum number of households or people that can meet outdoors. They do not need to maintain physical distancing. This means that an adult from another household looking after young children does not need to physically distance from the child. However, care should be taken to follow hygiene measures and keep proximity to a minimum where possible.

Young people aged 12 to 17 year olds can meet in a group of up to 6 people, who can be from 6 different households, who are all aged under 18 outdoors. Physical distancing is still required. This position will be monitored carefully and reviewed based evidence of transmission and incidence of the virus in this age group.

What is the scientific evidence to agree the under 12 exemption?

At present, on the balance of known risks, children under 12 are not required to physically distance due to the greatly reduced chance of them contracting the virus, and according to the Advisory sub-group for Education and Children, transmission risk in this age group is understood to be limited.

Can children under 12 years of age play outside with their friends or do they have to follow the 2 household, 6 people rule?

Children under 12 do not count towards the maximum number of households or people who can meet outdoors and do not have to physically distance.

Why are the Scottish Government restricting the rules on who people can meet?

There has been a marked increase in the number of infections in recent weeks and the Scottish Government have concluded that it is necessary to tighten some existing restrictions, to help curb the spread of the virus especially between and within households.

What is the evidence base for reducing the household meeting rules?

The Scottish Government’s decision was informed by analysis showing that the higher the number of people and households that meet and interact, the greater the risk of transmission. Therefore it made sense, as transmission is rising, to tighten the limit.

Why do we need the ‘2 household part’ – UK Govt don’t think it’s necessary – aren’t they following the same science?

The current evidence shows that it is the interaction between households that is important in terms of reducing the spread of the virus – that is why the Scottish Government have included 2 households in the limit (up to a maximum of 6 people) who can meet outdoors or in indoor public places. You cannot meet people from any other households indoors in your home or another person’s home socially, unless they are in your extended household.

What about large families?

A household with more than 6 people (not including children under 12) can continue to gather socially.

How do these changes affect extended households?

There is no change to your ability to form an extended household. An extended household can be formed when there is only one adult in one of the households or (for non-cohabiting couples, plus any children living with the adult. People in an extended household are treated as being in the same household. They can visit each other, stay overnight and do not need to physically distance. But you can only be part of one extended household.

Does this effect the number of households I can meet in a day?

You should limit as far as possible the total number of households you meet in a day.

Do these changes apply in hospitality settings?

There continues to be a maximum of 6 people from 2 households in hospitality settings, both indoors and outdoors.

What if I’m a student living in a halls of residence with more than 6 people?

If your student accommodation is provided in the form of flats with shared cooking and bathroom facilities, each “cluster flat” will normally be considered a household.

If your accommodation is provided in a different format, for example longer corridors of single rooms, the composition of “household” will be informed by the areas shared by groups of students (such as bathrooms).

Members of the same household do not need to physically distance from each other but should stay 2m away from people from other households.

If I live in student accommodation, can I still hold a social gathering?

The same rules apply to students as to everyone else. From 14 September 2020, restrictions on parties in private dwellings applied to student accommodation. This makes it an offence to attend a party in student accommodation as it currently is in other forms of private dwelling

There is an exception for students living in student accommodation to use cooking, dining, toilet or washing facilities which are shared with any person who is not a member of their household.

Do these restriction apply to the whole of Scotland, what about the local restrictions in place?

These are new nationwide measures and will supersede the equivalent local restrictions which have been in place in recent weeks in seven local authority areas: Glasgow; East and West Dunbartonshire; Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire; and North and South Lanarkshire. Specific restrictions imposed in respect of the west of Scotland in a range of respects need to remain in place for now but are subject to regular review by the National Incident Management Team as part of targeted package in place in those areas.

CHILDREN/ FAMILIES

Will this have any impact on Childcare, including ELC and school wraparound care?

No. The restriction does not apply where there is sector specific guidance in force.

Can parents still use grandparents / friends as childcare and does this count towards their limit?

Informal childcare can continue within the new household limits. We are encouraging people to limit the number of daily interactions that they have with other households.

Could your child go for a playdate in the morning to someone’s house, then a sibling (or the whole family) have another household or child over in the evening?

You cannot meet people from any other households indoors in your home or another person’s home socially, unless they are in your extended household. These rules also apply to children.

A maximum of 6 people from 2 households will still be permitted to meet together outdoors at any one time. Any children under 12 who are part of two households meeting up won’t count towards the limit of 6 people.

Young people aged 12 to 17 year olds can meet in a group of up to 6 people who are all aged under 18 outdoors. Physical distancing is still required.

You should also limit as far as possible the total number of households you meet in a day.

If children under 12 are exempt from making up the number of people to 6, can the children be from more than one household or not ie if children have siblings only one child in the family can have a friend over, meet a friend in a park etc?

You cannot meet people from any other households indoors in your home or another person’s home socially, unless they are in your extended household. These rules also apply to children.

A maximum of 6 people from 2 households will still be permitted to meet together outdoors at any one time. Any children under 12 who are part of two households meeting up won’t count towards the limit of 6 people.

You should also limit as far as possible the total number of households you meet in a day.

A child’s party planned for this weekend with 5 kids (from same class but different households) in a garden could no longer go ahead?

The rules mean that only 2 households can meet up to a limit of 6 people outdoors.  Any children from those 2 households won’t count towards the 6.

Is there clarity on number of households per day? Could families in theory meet friends in the morning then in the afternoon?

The Scottish Government is encouraging people to limit the number of interactions that they have.

Can there be more clarity on what is allowed and where for kids parties?

The rules on gatherings would apply to all parties – no indoor visiting, and a maximum of 6 people from 2 households in any outdoor setting. Any children under 12 who are part of two households don’t count towards the limit of 6 people.

INDOOR/ OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

Many organised indoor and outdoor activities (adult and child) are / have restarted – what will the impact be for these? e.g. October school holiday clubs, sports clubs, other clubs, toddler groups.

These changes will not impact on organised activity. Relevant guidance should be followed.

Will this impact on swimming pools reopening and the planned reopening of soft plays? 

Swimming pools are permitted to open and organised sport is permitted – relevant guidance is in place. Soft play is currently closed.

Can I still participate in sport?

You can participate in organised sport, where there are the necessary risk assessments and sport specific guidance in place.  People meeting friends for informal sport would need to abide by the rules on meeting other households.

Can I continue to participate in organised outdoor sports like five-a-side football?

There is no change to the rules around this, but everyone should adhere to the clear guidance that in place with includes enhanced hygiene measures and providing contact details to enable contact tracing.

Can I still play golf with more than one other adult?

People meeting friends for a recreational game of golf would need to abide by the rules on meeting other households.  If it is an organised event then greater numbers might be permitted depending on the specific guidance.

WEDDINGS AND FUNERALS

How do the new household limits affect weddings and funerals?

The maximum number of people who can attend a funeral, a marriage ceremony or a  civil partnership registration  remains fixed at 20. That limit of 20 also applies to wakes or wedding and civil partnership receptions in regulated premises.  Receptions or wakes taking place in a private dwelling, including a garden need to comply with the new household meeting rules.

Is the number of 20 inclusive of children at a wedding and at the wedding reception? 

Children are counted as part of the maximum of 20 people for funerals, marriages and civil partnerships, including wakes and receptions.

SELF ISOLATION

When is it necessary to self-isolate?

If you have symptoms, don’t go out, don’t go to work, self-isolate, and book a test. If you test positive, follow the advice from Test and Protect to isolate for ten days, and for anyone in your household to isolate for 14 days. Similarly, if you are identified as a contact of someone with Covid, you should isolate for 14 days.

What is the Scottish Government doing to offset financial impacts of self-isolation?

The Scottish Government will introduce new financial support arrangements for people on low incomes who face a loss of income if they are required isolate. More detail on this will be announced soon.

Who will be eligible for the financial support?

The details of that package are being worked through at present, and the Scottish Government also await information from the UK Government on additional Barnett consequentials as a result of announcements made by them over the weekend

England has introduced fine for those that don’t self-isolate will Scottish Government?

While the Scottish Government will keep enforcement options under review, there is a concern about potential disincentives of fines and enforcement to people getting tested. A better approach is to “remove barriers” to self-isolation.

What are you doing to ensure people comply

The Scottish Government will step up communication to support understanding and compliance with the steps needed to keep ourselves and each other safe. The Scottish Government will support self-isolation through new financial support arrangements for those on low incomes. The Scottish Government are investing additional resources to increase the number of Environmental Health Officers and working closely with Police Scotland to engage with the public, explain the rules and guidance, encourage compliance and, where necessary, enforce them.

HOSPITALITY

What changes are happening in hospitality?

Pubs, restaurants and all hospitality settings will be required to close at 10pm.

Can I still go to pubs and restaurants with friends?

You can meet people from one other household at a time, up to a maximum of 6 people, in public indoor spaces such as cafes, pubs and restaurants.

Children under 12 from the two households meeting do not count towards the maximum of 6 people.

Guidance should be followed at all times.

Why are the rules different for indoor meetings in my house and meetings in a pub or restaurant?

Hospitality settings have strict guidance that they have to follow to make it safe. A maximum of six people from up to two households can still meet in a hospitality setting, as long as relevant rules are followed at all times.

Is car sharing permitted?

You should only share a vehicle with those from your household or extended household. However, if you have no other option, you should follow the safe travel guidance at the Transport Scotland website which provides advice on how to share vehicles safely.

On such occasions, you should:

  • share the transport whether it is a car or minibus or other private vehicle with the same people each time
  • keep to small groups of people at any one time
  • maintain good ventilation by keeping the car windows open if possible
  • ask everyone, unless they are exempt, to wear a face-covering
  • clean your hands before and after your journey
  • and if the vehicle is your responsibility clean the door handles and other areas that people touch

KEY PRINCIPLES

Has everything changed?

The Scottish Government have taken a consistent approach to the key principles and they remain the same. Everyone who can work from home, should be working from home.  That is a crucial step that people can take to suppress the virus and to minimize spread.

Where that is not possible, please remember to avoid rush hours and crowded places where possible and when at work to follow the health and safety advice in place to make your working environment as safe as possible.

Remember the FACTS:

F – face coverings – wear these in enclosed spaces.

A – avoid crowded places, for example bars which look a bit too busy.

C – clean your hands and any hard surfaces.

T – 2 m distancing. Keeping your distance from friends and family can be really difficult. But it’s an important and effective way of reducing transmission.

S – self isolate. If you have symptoms, self isolate and book a test. If you are named as a contact of someone with Covid, self isolate for 14 days and get a test if you develop symptoms.

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