Please note that this information (which is for Scotland) will be different to the situation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Update 15 January 2021
Currently there should be no non-essential travel between Scotland and other parts of the UK. Please see the latest Scottish Government information regarding travel within Scotland, within the UK and internationally.
All of mainland Scotland (and the Isle of Skye) moved into Level 4 restrictions on 26th December 2020 and the restrictions were tightened on 5th January 2021 to include Stay at Home regulations.
This means that holiday accommodation, hospitality businesses, visitor attractions and non-essential shops will remain closed throughout January (and possibly longer).
Orkney, Shetland and the Hebrides are in Level 3 of Scotland's Covid Protection Levels with additional Stay at Home regulations.
Travel restrictions apply to areas of Scotland which are in Levels 3 and 4. This means that people living in Level 3 or Level 4 must not travel outside their own council area, except for certain essential purposes (e.g. funerals, work).
Social gatherings in Scotland
From September 2020, there have been restrictions on social gatherings throughout Scotland. Currently, the law includes:
Level 4 areas - 2 people from 2 separate households can meet outdoors for sport, exercise or social interaction.
Level 3 areas - no more than 6 people from up to 2 households can meet socially in public venues or outdoors in a park or garden.
(Children under 12 from these households are not counted within these limits).
Face coverings in Scotland
It is mandatory to wear a face covering in shops, banks and other enclosed areas such as museums, indoor tourist attractions, cinemas and places of worship.
It is also mandatory to wear a face covering inside bars/restaurants when you are not seated (e.g. when entering/leaving the premises or going to the toilet).
Exemptions apply for children under 5 and for those for whom a covering is inappropriate due to health reasons.
You are also required to wear a face covering on public transport (see below).
Please note that it is mandatory to wear a face covering on all public transport (including public areas of bus/train stations and airports) and in taxis. Exemptions apply for children under 5 and for those for whom a covering is inappropriate due to health reasons (see full guidance).
Advance booking of trains and ferries is essential.
Pubs, cafes and restaurants
Under the new system of levels in place from November 2020 onwards, there are restrictions on closing times for restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars in different areas of Scotland. In Level 4 areas, hospitality venues must remain closed (except for takeaways). Click here for full details.
Face coverings are mandatory when you are not seated (e.g. when entering/leaving the premises or going to the toilet).
No more than 6 people from up to 2 different households should meet together at a time (excluding children under 12) in Protection Levels where venues are permitted to open.
In Level 1 areas, 8 people from 3 different households are allowed to meet outdoors.
Hospitality venues are legally required to collect customers' contact details (name and phone number of the lead person in each household group) in case contact tracing is necessary.
Events and attractions
Feel free to check out the 2021 dates on our Events listing page. We will update this just as soon as more details are known as to whether events such as Highland Games can go ahead in 2021.
If you are hoping to visit attractions like castles and museums, please check when they will be open and if you need to pre-book time slots so that social distancing can be well managed (see our guide to what's open in and around Inverness). You will be asked to wear a face covering when visiting indoor attractions. All tourist attractions will be closed throughout January 2021 (and possibly longer).
Arriving into the UK
Please note that non-essential travel to or from Scotland is currently illegal.
From 18 January 2021, people arriving into Scotland from outside the UK will have to take a Covid test up to 72 hours before leaving the country they are in, and will also be required to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival.
See the latest Scottish Government Covid travel information.
For additional info, see the VisitScotland Travel to Scotland FAQ.
VisitScotland has a handy list which summaries the current situation and regulations in Scotland.
Scotland is now operating a 'Test and Protect' strategy.
The Protect Scotland app is available to download for free via Apple and Google stores.
For medical advice if you are experiencing any symptoms of Coronavirus, please consult the NHS website.