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Visit our coronavirus hub for information and advice.

Stay at home guidance

To minimise the risk of spreading the virus, you must stay at home as much as possible. If you are currently in a level 4 area, you can only leave your home (or garden) for an essential purpose.

The rules on meeting up have also changed, so only 2 people from 2 households can meet outdoors. Children under 12 do not count towards households or numbers when meeting outside.

You can read the full stay at home guidance on the website.

We realise how very difficult this will be. After 9 months of restrictions, this new lockdown seems very hard, but it’s vital in order to slow down the spread of the virus. And with the vaccine being rolled out, we need to remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

What counts as an essential purpose?

Essential purposes for leaving your home include things like shared parenting, childcare, work (if you can’t work from home), exercise and healthcare. You can find a full list of essential purposes on the website.

Although you can leave home for these purposes, you should stay as close to home as possible. So shop online or use local shops and services wherever you can. Travel no further than you need to reach to a safe, non-crowded place to exercise in a socially distanced way. To minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus, it’s really important that we all avoid unnecessary travel.

Can I meet family and friends?

Only 2 people aged 12+ from 2 households can meet outdoors for sport, exercise or social interaction. However, children under 12 don’t count towards households or numbers when meeting outside.

Can I go into someone else’s home?

At the moment it isn’t possible to meet up with anyone indoors, unless it’s for essential purposes, such as providing care. You can see a list of these essential purposes on the website.

If you’re visiting someone in their garden, it’s okay to go through their house to get there, but don’t touch anything. If you need to use their 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.

If members of another household are going to visit you outside and might need to use your toilet, make sure cleaning materials are available. You should also provide either a hand towel for each visiting household or paper towels and a safe disposal option.

Can I still see people in my extended household?

Yes, you can still see members of your extended household as before.

When will nurseries and schools reopen?

Until the current restrictions ease, all childcare settings (including nurseries and after school clubs) will only be open for children of keyworkers and vulnerable children. Current arrangements for schools and childcare settings will remain in place until at least mid-February, and this will be reviewed on 2 February. Our FAQ pages for schools and nurseries have more information.

Our page on home and blended learning has more information on what you can expect over the next few weeks, and you can find resources for supporting your child’s learning at home here. Remember, no-one’s expecting you to be a teacher!


Can I still get childcare from friends and family or a nanny?

Under the stay at home restrictions, the rules for childcare remain the same as they were for level 4. Our page on childcare explains more.

What if we share parenting?

The rules around shared parenting haven’t changed: where parents don’t live in the same household, children can move between their parents’ homes, this includes both supervised and unsupervised contact. Our page on shared parenting has more information.

Can my kids take part in sport or other organised activities?

Organised sport and exercise for under-12s can continue as long as it follows all guidance, including sport-specific guidance agreed between the Scottish Governing Body of Sport and sportscotland. 

Activities for parents and children under 5 such as baby and toddler groups are permitted as long as they take place outdoors. However, they are limited to a maximum of 7 adults and unlimited under 5s.  

Outdoor organised activities for children are limited to 15 under 12s. This includes a maximum of 2 adult facilitators.

If you're not sure what will be happening about your children's usual activities, the organisers should be in touch soon.

How can we cope with spending more time at home again?

Going back to spending so much time at home with the kids isn’t going to be easy, but we’ve got lots of tips and advice to help you cope: