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Meeting indoors

It’s been great to catch up with friends and family outdoors, but it does leave us at the mercy of the Scottish weather! However, the good news is, you can now meet up to 2 other households indoors, provided you take certain precautions. This page explains the new rules and how you can stay safe at home and when visiting other people. 

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 are the new rules about meeting up indoors?

Can I meet up with friends and family in their or my home?

You can meet with people from up to 2 other households at a time indoors. You should only meet in small numbers, so no more than 8 people in total at a time (excluding children under 12), and you must stay at least 2 metres apart from people aged 12 and over that you don’t live with. 

8 people might be quite a lot to fit into one room and maintain physical distancing, so the number of people you invite round at one time may be limited by the size of the rooms in your home! However, you don’t have to meet everyone at once.

How many people can I meet in one day?

You can meet up to 4 households in total each day. However, you can only meet 2 of these households indoors at a time. So, for example, you could see 2 households in the morning outside and then friends from 2 different households in the evening indoors. 

Our page on outdoor restrictions explains more about meeting up outdoors.

Meeting no more than 4 other households each day will limit the risk that someone who had the virus without realising it could infect lots of households on the same day.

There is no maximum number of households children can meet with in a day, but they must still follow the guidance on the group sizes. This means that children can meet their friends separately from meetings that the rest of the household may be having. 

How can I stay safe when I’m indoors with other people?

It’s easier to catch and pass on the virus indoors, so when you’re spending time with other households indoors you should always:

  • stay 2 metres away from anyone aged 12 or over who’s not part of your household 
  • maintain hand and cough hygiene
  • avoid touching hard surfaces with your hands
  • follow advice on the NHS Inform website about physical distancing and hygiene 
  • wash your hands when you arrive, when you leave, when you get home and especially before eating or after touching surfaces
  • try not to share food or utensils – if you’re going to be eating, each household should bring, prepare and eat their own food separately
  • keep windows and doors open if you can.

How can I prepare for people visiting my home to make sure it’s safe for everyone?

It’s easier to catch and pass on the virus indoors, so it’s very important that you maintain good hygiene – so give yourself time to prepare. If someone else is coming to your home, wipe down surfaces they may touch before they arrive, for example, door knobs and the arms of chairs, and provide a separate hand towel for them to use when they wash their hands. If children under 12 are likely to be sharing toys, make sure these are clean too. Wipe everything down again after they leave. This may seem a hassle but it’s important to help keep everyone safe. 

How can I prepare for visiting another household indoors?

Before visiting someone, make sure you check that that’s okay and they haven’t already seen their 2 households for the day. If you’re at someone else’s home, make sure you wash your hands regularly, try not to touch hard surfaces and wipe down any surfaces you and your children do touch – bring your own towel and some wipes with you to be on the safe side. If you’re planning on eating, it’s best to bring your own food and cutlery. And always wash your hands before eating.

Do we need to physically distance indoors?

Yes, adults and children aged 12 and over should continue to maintain physical distancing from other over 12s and adults who are not part of their household or extended household. Children aged 11 and under don’t need to keep their distance, but it’s best to keep contact such as hugging to a minimum and everyone should follow good hand hygiene measures.

My flat is small, can people come to visit me if we can’t physical distance?

It’s vitally important to maintain physical distancing between each household. Use your judgement in deciding how many people (up to a maximum of 8) that you can safely have in your flat or house at any one time, while maintaining a 2 metre distance between each household.

How long can we stay for?

You can stay together indoors as long as you like, there’s no time limit.

Can I give someone from another household a lift in my car?

It’s now okay to give a lift to a child under 12 from another household. However, you shouldn’t give anyone aged 12 or over from another household a lift in your car, or accept a lift from someone from another household, unless it’s essential (for example in an emergency or to take someone to a medical appointment). If this is the case, try to limit the number of passengers, space out as much as possible and keep the windows open. The people you share the car with will count towards the 4 households you can meet in a day. Travel Scotland have further advice on travelling here.

What can we do indoors?

Can I offer people a cup of tea or coffee? Can we share food, or get a takeaway?

At the moment you shouldn’t share food or utensils when you get together, although it’s fine to make someone a hot drink if they bring their own mug. If you do want to eat together, each household should bring and eat their own food separately, using their own cutlery, mugs, glasses or water bottles. If you get a takeaway, you should order separate dishes. For example, you shouldn’t share a pizza.

Can friends and family stay overnight in my home? Can I stay overnight at theirs?

It is now possible to stay overnight at someone else’s house. However, you will need to maintain physical distancing at all times so it’s important to think the arrangements through and decide whether it’s practical. For example, you’ll need to bring your own food and utensils and to give the bathroom surfaces a wipe down whenever you use it. It’s a good idea to keep the room they sleep in well ventilated as well, for example by keeping a window open.

Does this mean another family member or friend can look after my children?

Yes, it’s fine for you to leave your child at the home of a family member or friend for them to look after them, although if your child is 12 or over they should maintain physical distancing from any other adults, unless in an emergency. Our page on childcare has more information.

Can my child have sleepovers with their friends?

They can. Under 12s will be able to share a bedroom, however, as over 12s should maintain physical distancing with people from other households, you will need to consider whether it may be better to sleep in separate rooms. (See ‘can friends and family stay overnight’ above.) 

Can children share toys with their friends indoors?

Children under 12 can share toys indoors but make sure you keep them very clean, particularly toys that babies or toddlers might put in their mouths! 

Can older children share games consoles and other equipment?

Children aged 12 and over should avoid sharing items such as gaming consoles or computers, or should wipe them down thoroughly before they’re used by a child from another household.

Does this mean I can now go on holiday with my friends or family?

As self-contained holiday accommodation is now open, you can book to stay somewhere together, provided there are no more than 3 households and 8 people in your group. Again, you’ll need to think through the practicalities, such as renting somewhere large enough for everyone aged 12 and over to maintain physical distancing and thinking about how you’ll all eat together without sharing food or utensils. 

Vulnerable people

I’m pregnant, over 70 or have an underlying health condition, can I meet other people indoors?

Yes, it’s fine to meet up to 2 households indoors at a time, but make sure you pay extra attention to physical distancing and hygiene measures as outlined above.

Can we visit someone who's been shielding, pregnant, over 70 or has an underlying health condition?

Yes, it’s fine to visit someone who’s been shielding, pregnant, over 70 or has an underlying health condition. However, you should always check with them before coming round. When you visit, make sure you pay extra attention to physical distancing and hygiene measures, and wipe down any surfaces you touch.

I've been shielding, can I meet people indoors?

On 1 August, shielding was paused altogether, so people who were shielding can now follow the same guidance as everyone else, provided they feel comfortable doing so. If you are meeting other people indoors, it’s still important to follow strict physical distancing and hygiene measures. Wash your hands frequently, avoid touching hard surfaces such as door handles and bannisters with your hands, sit away from anyone you don't live with and open the windows if you can. You can find a guide to how risky different activities here, so you can make an informed decision. You can also get advice on how to stay safe doing different activities here.

Someone in our household has been shielding, can we visit people indoors?

Yes, if someone in your household has been shielding, it’s fine for you and the other members of your family to visit other people, although you should pay extra attention to physical distancing and hygiene measures as outlined above.

Someone in our household has been shielding, can people visit us indoors?

Yes, people who have been shielding can meet people indoors, but it's important that you all maintain strict physical distancing and hygiene measures.