Scotland travel: Am I allowed to visit, are hotels and restaurants open and what rules are in place?

Scotland offers some of the most beautiful surroundings for a staycation, from the wild Highlands and Hebrides to the city break charm offered by Edinburgh and Glasgow.

But, as tighter restrictions and a second lockdown return across the UK, what are the rules around visiting and travelling around the country?

Here’s everything you need to know.

Am I allowed to travel to Scotland from the rest of the UK?

Until midnight Wednesday 4 November, it depends on where you’re going – and where you’re coming from.

England’s new three tier system has divided the country into “medium”, “high” and “very high risk” depending on the Covid-19 case rate. Those in areas categorised as medium are simply subject to the previous rules that were in place, such as not congregating in groups larger than six. These people should be able to travel to parts of Scotland without local restrictions in place without issue (as long as they abide by the rule of six).

Those travelling from “high” tier regions are subject to extra measures, including the banning of separate households socialising together indoors. This would prevent families or friends from different households from staying together in a cottage or similar accommodation.

Meanwhile, people hailing from designated “very high” risk areas have been advised not to travel outside their area at all (other than for work, education, accessing youth services or to meet caring responsibilities).

“People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a ‘very high’ area, or avoid staying overnight in a ‘very high’ area if they are resident elsewhere,” says the government.

However, the advice not to travel is not legally binding.

From Thursday 5 November, a second nationwide lockdown starts in England, which bans domestic and international leisure travel.

It means those in England should not be travelling to Scotland for a holiday or for any purpose that’s not deemed essential and doing so would break the law.

Can I travel within Scotland?

Scotland has its own measures in place depending on the region, with a new five-level system coming into practice from 2 November, running from level zero to four. No areas will be in the highest levels to begin with, but the Central Belt region, plus Dundee, is in level three.

People outside of level three or four areas are being told not to travel there “unless they need to”. Those in other levels are advised not to cross into regions on different levels for non-essential reasons.

Within your own region, things are a little more flexible. Up to and including level three, hotels and holiday accommodation remain open.

The Scottish government said: “Those living in a Level three area can still use holiday accommodation in their area but should not stay in the same self-catered accommodation with another household.

“You can meet in a group of up to 6 people from up to 2 households indoors in a public setting in your holiday accommodation. You should not meet indoors in your bedroom or self-catered accommodation.”

Which areas are under level three restrictions?

Clackmannanshire, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Glasgow City, Inverclyde, Midlothian, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian and Dundee are all currently classed as level three.

Are hotels and campsites open?

All holiday accommodation can stay open in regions that are level three or below, in line with guidance.

Hotels and other accommodation providers can serve food to guests staying in their premises, for consumption in or outdoors. Alcohol may only be served as part of room service.

We can’t ‘magic away’ coronavirus, says Nicola Sturgeon

People from more than one household (or extended household) must not stay in self-catered accommodation together while the current restrictions on indoor private gatherings are in place. This includes accommodation such as a caravans, flats and holiday cottages.

If you are staying in a hotel, B&B or similar accommodation, you should not have more than one household (or extended household) staying in each room booked.

When an area enters level four, all holiday accommodation must close to tourists. Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering can remain open for essential customers only, such as those travelling for work.

Are restaurants, shops and attractions open?

Up to level three, restaurants can remain open, although a maximum of six people from two households can meet together, whether indoors or outdoors.

Table service is compulsory, as is wearing a mask when moving around the restaurant or not eating and drinking.

In level one areas, all hospitality premises must shut by 10.30pm; in level two alcohol is only permitted if sold alongside a meal; and, in level three areas, no alcohol can be sold and all establishments must close by 6pm.

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Reuters News in pictures 23Nov-YemenSanaa.jpg Anti-government protesters react as they celebrate the signing by Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh of a deal to step down in Sanaa November 23, 2011. Saleh signed a deal on Wednesday under which he stepped down from 33 years in power and 10 months of protests against his rule that have brought the country to the edge of civil war. Reuters News in pictures 22NovRussia.jpg A Russian police officer moves to detain an activist from the opposition group “Another Russia” during a protest against forthcoming elections in central Moscow November 22, 2011. Russia will vote in parliamentary elections on December 4. Reuters News in pictures 21novCairo.jpg A protester has his eyes washed with milk to protect against tear gas, during clashes with police in Cairo. Reuters News in pictures 20novtahirsq.jpg A wounded protester is rushed to a field hospital near Tahrir Square during clashes with Egyptian riot police in Cairo November 20, 2011. Police backed by the army used batons and teargas on Sunday to charge protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square demanding Eygpt’s ruling generals swiftly hand power to civilians, in some of the worst violence since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak. Reuters News in pictures 19Novoccupyamsterdam.jpg Eveline Constance Heijkamp, a 22-year-old Occupy Amsterdam demonstrator, prepares for her wedding to Gijs Peskens (not pictured) in a tent on the Beursplein in Amsterdam November 19, 2011. Occupy Amsterdam demonstrators have set up tents on the Beursplein since October 15, 2011. Reuters News in pictures 18NovTibi,nrAlicante.jpg Soldiers of a special forces unit walk after a military exercise in Tibi, near Alicante. Reuters News in pictures 17NovBenin.JPG A girl washes the lid of a cooking pot amid the ruins of a market destroyed by city officials in Benin’s main city of Cotonou November 17, 2011. Vendors and local residents said police used bulldozers and razed the local market in an effort to tidy the city ahead of a three-day visit by Pope Benedict XVI. Reuters News in pictures 16novBenetton.jpg A man strolls in front of the Benetton store in downtown Rome November 16, 2011. Benetton withdrew an advertisement using an image of Pope Benedict kissing an imam on the mouth after the Vatican protested on Wednesday at the Italian clothing firm’s latest shock campaign. REUTERS News in pictures 15novpropaganda.jpg An Iranian student holds up an anti-U.S. poster as he attends a demonstration to show his support for Iran’s nuclear program, before a ceremony to form a human chain around the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF), in Isfahan Reuters News in pictures 14novoccupyOakland.jpg An Occupy Oakland camper reads a book by candle light at the Occupy Oakland campsite in Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland, California November 14, 2011. Anti-Wall Street protesters in Oakland rejected a call by the California city’s police union on Friday for them to leave their encampment, creating the potential for a showdown. News in pictures Japan13Nov.jpg Japan’s PM Noda arrives for a news conference after the conclusion of the APEC Summit in Honolulu, Hawaii Reuters News in pictures 12NovFukishima.jpg Officials from TEPCO and Japanese journalists look at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant from a bus in Fukushima Reuters News in pictures poppyart11nov.jpg Artist Ted Harrison poses for photographs with his art installation at St Paul’s Cathedral, in London Reuters News in pictures poppies.jpg Crosses commemorating the British military casualties in Afghanistan are seen in the Field of Remembrance outside Westminster Abbey in central London Reuters News in pictures floods.jpg A man and his dog make their way through a flooded area in Ayutthaya in Thailand. Thailand’s worst floods in half a century have killed more than 500 people, damaged millions of tonnes of rice, forced a series of industrial estates to close and threaten to inundate the capital, Bangkok. REUTERS News in pictures 8Novemeberelections-(1).jpg A Liberian election official waits for voters at an empty polling station during presidential elections, in the capital Monrovia. Reuters News in pictures Thailand.jpg Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra speaks to officials on a truck during her visit to a flooded area in Bangkok REUTERS News in pictures RTR2TOZZ.jpg British singer Jessie J performs at the MTV Europe Music Awards show in Belfast November 6, 2011. REUTERS News in pictures RTR2TMQE.jpg Muslim pilgrims pray on Mount Mercy on the plains of Arafat during the annual haj pilgrimage, outside the holy city of Mecca. REUTERS News in pictures RTR2TMFU.jpg An Occupy Wall Street campaign demonstrator sits covered in a blanket in Zuccotti Park, near Wall Street in New York. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton News in pictures RTR2TKWH-1.jpg People gather around a dead whale after it beached on the Maule beach at the gulf of Arauco, some 550 km southwest of Santiago, near Concepcion city on November 4, 2011. The 16-meter long whale was found dead at an area which is apparently used to raise their young. The cause of its death is still unknown, local media said. News in pictures 131244328.jpg A fireman holding flares sits on a traffic light during a demonstration against reforms to notably change the methods of firefighter recruitment on November 3, 2011 in Paris. Getty Images News in pictures tues – tibet Nepalese police arrest a Tibetan woman during a protest in Kathmandu. About 20,000 Tibetans live in Nepal with valid refugee papers, while many are believed to be residing illegally. With China’s influence over Nepal increasing, the Nepalese government’s stands strong against Tibetans exiles whose protests in support of their homeland has increased in recent years. Nepal ceased issuing refugee papers to Tibetans in 1989 and recognizes Tibet to be a part of China. News in pictures mon – china A modified model of the Long March CZ-2F rocket carrying the unmanned spacecraft Shenzhou 8 blasts off from the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China’s Gansu Province. China launched the unmanned Shenzhou 8 spacecraft early on Tuesday, paving the way for a docking exercise with another craft. The docking, if successful, will pave the way for China to operate a permanent space station around 2020, and make the nation the world’s third to do so. News in pictures sun – Koytashskoye A servicewoman representing the Koytashskoye infantry unit holds a child as she casts her ballot during the presidential election at a polling station in the village of Koytash outside the capital Bishkek. Kyrgyzstan began voting on Sunday to elect a new president capable of bridging divisions that threaten stability in the former Soviet republic, a vital step to completing bold reforms to create Central Asia’s first parliamentary democracy. News in pictures sat-bangkok Police officers wait to assist residents passing through flood waters in Bangkok’s Chinatown. Receding floodwaters north of Bangkok have reduced the threat to the Thai capital, the prime minister said on Saturday, but high tides in the Gulf of Thailand will still test the city’s flood defences. News in pictures fri-morocco A relative of one of the nine men accused of orchestrating the April 28 bombing of an outdoor cafe, gestures as he attends the final hearing in court in Sale.. A Moroccan judge sentenced Adel Othmani to death on Friday for plotting and carrying out the bomb attack on the cafe in Marrakesh that killed 17 people, including eight French nationals. The blasts were the deadliest in Morocco since coordinated suicide bombings carried out by Islamist militants in the commercial capital, Casablanca, in 2003. News in pictures thurs – eurozone France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy, seen in this video grab from TF1 French television in a prime time interview from the Elysee Palace in Paris, speaks to the nation about the eurozone economy the day after a summit in Brussels. News in pictures weds_-_columbia_661267s.jpg Colombian students mock riot police during a demonstration in Bogota October 26, 2011. Thousands of students marched in a nationwide protest against the government’s reform of public universities, student organizations said. Reuters News in pictures tues_-_turkey_660971s.jpg Rescue workers carry a baby from a collapsed building in Ercis, near the eastern Turkish city of Van. A 14-day-old baby was rescued alive from the rubble of a collapsed building on Tuesday, 46 hours after an earthquake struck southeast Turkey, a Reuters Television journalist said. Reuters News in pictures mon_-_kosovo_660722s.jpg A NATO Kosovo Force (KFOR) soldier from Germany is reflected on a window of a bus, as a Kosovo Serb man sitting inside the bus looks out at erected barricades, in the village of Jagnjenica, near the town of Zubin Potok. Serbian President Boris Tadic urged an end to a tense stand-off between Serbs and NATO troops in Kosovo but was rebuffed by hardline Kosovo Serb leaders after five hours of talks late on Sunday. Reuters News in pictures sun_-_turkey_660431s.jpg Rescue workers rescue people trapped under debris after an earthquake in a village near the eastern Turkish city of Van. Turkey’s Kandilli Observatory estimates that some 500 to 1,000 people were killed in a powerful earthquake in southeast Turkey’s Van province on Sunday, broadcaster CNN Turk reported. Separately, Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay told reporters some 10 buildings had collapsed in Van city and around 25-30 buildings collapsed in the nearby district of Ercis. Reuters News in pictures sat-new_york_660428s.jpg Protesters and members of Occupy Wall Street wait for the start of the march, during an annual demonstration calling for a stop to police brutality in New York. Reuters News in pictures fri_-_yemen_660432s.jpg Anti-government protesters shout slogans during a rally to demand the ouster of Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa. Reuters News in pictures thurs_-_gaddafi_659574a.jpg Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, covered in blood, is pulled from a truck by NTC fighters in Sirte in this still image taken from video footage. Gaddafi was killed on Thursday as Libya’s new leaders declared they had overrun the last bastion of his long rule, sparking wild celebrations that eight months of war may finally be over. Reuters News in pictures weds_-_greece_659023a.jpg A youth throws a petrol bomb at police during riots with police in Athens’ Syntagma (Constitution) square. Greek unions begin a 48-hour general strike on Wednesday, the biggest protest in years, as parliament prepares to vote on sweeping new austerity measures designed to stave off a default that could trigger a crisis in the wider euro zone. Reuters News in pictures tues_-_palestine_658589a.jpg Newly released Palestinian prisoner Fotnah Abu Aleish (R) is hugged by her brother upon arrival to the Askar refugee camp near the West Bank city of Nablus. Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and hundreds of Palestinians crossed Israel’s borders in opposite directions on Tuesday as a thousand-for-one prisoner exchange brought joy to families but did little to ease decades of conflict. Reuters News in pictures mon-new_zealand_658305a.jpg The tanker Awanuia and a tug boat carry out operations to pump oil from the stricken container ship Rena, about 14 nautical miles (22 km) from Tauranga, on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, 13 days after it struck the Astrolabe Reef. Rough weather on Tuesday forced salvage teams to halt pumping oil from the stricken container ship in what has turned into the country’s worst environmental disaster in decades. Reuters News in pictures sun_-_libya_658107s.jpg Libyan government fighters shoot from the roof of a building at pro-Gaddafi forces in Sirte. Libyan government fighters battled on Sunday to subdue pockets of resistance by pro-Gaddafi fighters, whose refusal to abandon the ousted leader’s hometown of Sirte is delaying Libya’s move to democracy. Reuters News in pictures sat-st_pauls_658106s.jpg WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange leaves a protest outside St Paul’s Cathedral, next to the London Stock Exchange, in central London. Demonstrators worldwide shouted their rage on Saturday against bankers and politicians they accuse of ruining economies and condemning millions to hardship through greed and bad government. Reuters News in pictures fri_-_thailand_658100a.jpg Thai soldiers help residents crossing a strong stream of floodwaters in Pathum Thani province. Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra tried to reassure residents of Bangkok on Friday that the capital should largely escape the flooding that has covered a third of the country since July and caused damage of at least $3 billion. Reuters News in pictures thurs_-_seattle_657371s.jpg Benjamin Fodor, aka Seattle superhero ‘Phoenix Jones’, speaks to the media after making a court appearance in Seattle, Washington. Prosecutors have so far declined to charge Fodor, a onetime mixed-martial arts competitor who was arrested on Sunday after he pepper-sprayed a group of nightclub patrons he believed were involved in a street brawl downtown. Reuters News in pictures weds_-_berlin_657034a.jpg The Berlin cathedral is seen as it is illuminated during the Festival of Lights in Berlin. Several landmarks of the German capital, including boulevards, squares, towers, historical and modern buildings, will be illuminated during the festival. Reuters News in pictures tues_-_ukraine_656642s.jpg Policemen detain an activist from women’s rights organisation Femen who took part in a rally near the Pecherskiy district court in Kiev. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich hinted at possible imminent changes to the law which may benefit former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, convicted on Tuesday of abuse-of-office and sentenced to seven years in jail. Activists gathered to protest against the conflict between Yanukovich and Tymoshenko, which is evident in participants’ opinion, and to prevent the bloodshed between the two sides, according to local media. Reuters News in pictures mon_-_thailand_656361s.jpg People make their way through a flooded area in Ayutthaya province. Thai rescue workers scrambled on Monday to prevent a humanitarian disaster as the worst flooding in half a century swamped large sections of the country, shut factories and stranded thousands of people. Reuters News in pictures sun-egypt_656104s.jpg Egyptian Christians clash with soldiers and riot police during a protest against an attack on a church in southern Egypt, in Cairo. Nineteen people were killed in Cairo on Sunday when Christians, some carrying crosses and pictures of Jesus, clashed with military police, medical and security sources said, in the latest sectarian flare-up in a country in political turmoil. Reuters News in pictures sat_-_yemen_656103s.jpg Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh delivers his speech on state television in this still image taken from video. Saleh said on Saturday he would leave power in the coming days, the closest the veteran leader has come to announcing he plans to step down after nine months of mass protests against his 33 year rule. Reuters News in pictures fri_-_china_656102a.jpg The newly inaugurated skyscraper tower of Huaxi village is seen in Huaxi village, Jiangsu province. Huaxi, also known as China’s richest village, celebrates its 50th anniversary with the inauguration of a massive 328-meters (1,076 feet) high skyscraper that screams for attention from its lowly skyline. A solid gold bull weighing a tonne also greets visitors at a viewing area on the 60th-floor of the tower, a testament to the wealth of the village. In Huaxi, those from the original 2,000 residents have at least a house, a car, and $250,000 in the bank and enjoy universal health care and free education. Officials from elsewhere in China tour Huaxi to find out how this once sleepy village, with just 576 residents in the 1950s, is now so rich and why non-local businessmen would donate million-dollar factories to buy the privilege of a local residence permit. Reuters News in pictures thurs_-_thailand_655289s.jpg Prisoners wade through a flooded jail as they evacuate to another jail at Ayutthaya prison in Ayutthaya province, nearly 80 km (50 miles) north of Bangkok. At least 224 people have died in flooding in Thailand since mid-July and water has inundated the 400-year-old Chai Wattanaram temple in the ancient city of Ayutthaya, a World Heritage Site, officials said on Tuesday. Reuters News in pictures weds_-_steve_jobs_654801s.jpg A tribute message to the late Steve Jobs written in lipstick is seen on the window of the Apple Store in Santa Monica, California. Apple Inc co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs, counted among the greatest American CEOs of his generation, died on Wednesday at the age of 56, after a years-long and highly public battle with cancer and other health issues. Reuters

Restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars will be closed in level four, although hotels can still serve customers staying on their premises for essential reasons until 10pm.

Shops, visitor attractions, libraries, hairdressers, barbers and beauticians can all stay open with social distancing measures in place up to level three, but other services may have to close depending on what level the area has been designated. From level four, only essential shops will be allowed to open.

Nightclubs must remain shut across the board; stadiums will close to spectators in levels two and three; and soft play, funfairs, snooker and pool halls, indoor bowling alleys, casinos and bingo halls will remain closed in level three.

Outdoor live events are also banned in level three areas, as are contact sports and training, plus indoor group exercise classes, for those aged 18 and over.

What rules are in place?

Other than the above, face coverings are now mandatory in shops and on buses, trains, trams, planes and taxis, plus in indoor group settings, including staff canteens and workplace corridors.