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Changes to coronavirus restrictions

Restrictions put into place to prevent the spread of coronavirus are changing. The changes will happen in four phases. This page explains more about the changes that affect parents and families.

Phase 3 began on 10 July. You can see the whole plan and find out more about what you can and can't do here.

The information below shows the restrictions at a national level, however, there are now additional restrictions in place in Aberdeen City.  If you live in Aberdeen, please visit for up to date information on local restrictions.

If you do not live in Aberdeen, please note that you should avoid travelling to Aberdeen at this time.

What's changing in Phase 3?

The following changes are taking place in Phase 3:

  • You can now meet up to 4 households outdoors, as long as you maintain physical distancing and there are no more than 15 of you. Our page on outdoor restrictions explains more.
  • You can now meet up to 2 other households indoors, as long as you maintain physical distancing and there are no more than 8 of you. Our page on meeting indoors explains more.
  • Face coverings must be worn in shops as well as on public transport.
  • Children up to the age of 17 can take part in contact sports or other physical activity run by a club or other organisation. Our page on sport, play and youth activities explains more.
  • Dentists can reopen for all procedures that don’t involve using aerosols.
  • More optometrists can open for emergency eye care.
  • Non-essential shops in shopping centres can reopen, following guidance and with physical distancing in place.
  • Face to face youth work can start again, following guidance.
  • All holiday accommodation can reopen, as long as guidance is followed.
  • Pubs, restaurants and cafés can serve food and drink indoors, with safety measures in place, such as increased ventilation.
  • Hairdressers and barbers can reopen, taking extra hygiene measures.
  • Museums, galleries, cinemas, monuments and libraries can reopen, with physical distancing and other measures in place, for example, advance ticketing.
  • All registered childcare providers can open, following guidance – our page on ELC settings has more information.
  • Places of worship can re-open for congregational services, communal prayer and contemplation, with physical distancing and limited numbers.
  • Restrictions have been eased on the number of people who can attend funerals, marriage ceremonies and civil partnership registrations with physical distancing. However, receptions and wakes are still subject to restrictions on hospitality and household meetings.
  • Retail services such as beauticians and tailors can reopen, as long as they follow guidance.
  • Universities and colleges can start reopening as part of a blended model with remote teaching, with physical distancing and other measures in place.
  • Motorcycle instruction and theory/hazard tests can resume.
  • Tractor driver instruction can also resume. 
  • On 1 August, shielding was paused altogether, so people who were shielding can now follow the same rules as everyone else, provided they feel comfortable doing so. However, to stay safe, it’s important to strictly follow physical distancing and hygiene measures. You can find out more about shielding at the website.

You can find out more about Phase 3 changes here.


What changed in Phase 2?

Key changes in Phase 2 included:

  • The introduction of extended households: this meant that some people are now able to form an extended household with another family or person who they don’t live with. Our guide to extended households explains more.
  • The guidance around physical distancing for children changed, so that it’s easier for them to spend time with their friends. Our page on physical distancing for children has more information.
  • You can now go to a place of worship to attend a funeral, carry out essential voluntary services or pray. You can go alone or with other people from your household. 
  • Dentists can open for urgent appointments.
  • Indoor non-office workplaces can open (this includes, for example, factories and warehouses).
  • Shops that can be accessed from the street can reopen and outdoor markets can reopen.
  • Outdoor sports courts and playgrounds can reopen.
  • Registration offices can open for high priority tasks and marriage and civil partnerships can take place outdoors, with minimal attendees.
  • Zoos and garden attractions can open.
  • You can travel further than 5 miles for any purpose, however, it’s best to only do this if you really need to, and to stay local if you can. 
  • Self-contained holiday accommodation that doesn’t have shared services (for example, cottages) can open. 
  • Beer gardens and other restaurants and cafés can open to serve food and drink outdoors, with physical distancing and other measures in place.

What's happening in Phase 4?

You can see the whole plan for moving out of lockdown here.