Physical distancing measures are things you should do to reduce how often you interact with others outside your household. This will stop coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading.
These measures are for everyone, including children. They should be used when people are living in their own homes, with or without additional support from friends, family and carers.
Stay home as much as possible
Everyone must stay at home as much as possible as you can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.
- wash your hands with soap and water (or hand sanitiser) when you return home
- stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people at all times
- meet up with a maximum of two households outdoors and in small numbers (no more than 8 people) staying 2 metres apart
- travel by foot, bike or car if you can and avoid non-essential use of public transport
- wear a face covering if you need to use public transport or visit a care home or hospital
- change your travel times to avoid rush hour
- work from home if you can - your employer should support you to do this
- use phone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services
- meet more than 2 other households each day
- meet anyone with coronavirus symptoms (new continuous cough, fever or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste (anosmia))
- have large public gatherings with friends and family - keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
If parents don’t live together, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes as long as no-one in either household has symptoms.
Read the Scottish Government’s full guidance for staying at home and away from others
Hand washing and respiratory hygiene
To reduce the risk of catching and spreading the virus:
- wash your hands more often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use a hand sanitiser
- wash your hands when you get home or into work, when you blow your nose, sneeze or cough, eat or handle food
- avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- avoid close contact with people who have symptoms
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, throw the tissue in a bin and wash your hands
- clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in your home
Meeting other households
Your household can meet with up to two households in small numbers (no more than 8 people) outdoors or in a garden as long as you follow physical distancing and stay 2 metres apart.
You should only meet two other household a day and:
- avoid touching the same surfaces as them
- bring your own food, plates and cutlery if you’re eating together
- don't go indoors unless you are using a toilet
You’re still not able to have larger public gatherings of friends and family.
Children and young people
Children aged 11 or under can mix outside in groups of up to 8 people from no more than 2 households each day without the need for physical distancing. They can meet these households together or at different times.
Young people aged 12 to 17 can mix outside in groups of up to 8 people from no more than 2 households at a time but need to maintain physical distancing. There is no limit to the number of households they can meet each day which means they can safely meet other households separately from their families.
Where these groups are a mix of ages, those aged 12 and over should maintain physical distancing from each other while those aged 11 or under don’t need to.
Exercise, sport and leisure
You can use public outdoor spaces for recreational purposes, for example sitting on benches and sunbathing.
You can exercise outdoors with others in your household as much as you like as long as you stay local and follow physical distancing measures.
You can do non-contact outdoor activities including:
- outdoor swimming
You should only travel if you’re not showing coronavirus symptoms and no-one in your household is self-isolating.
People who’re in the higher risk category should carefully consider how to rigorously follow physical distancing when travelling.
People who are shielding should only travel outside their home for very limited reasons such as essential healthcare and exercise.
Travelling for leisure
You can travel any distance for exercise, leisure or to meet up with people from another household outdoors as long as you maintain physical distancing.
Travel by foot, bike or car where possible and avoid public transport if you can.
Don't travel to the Scottish islands unless for essential reasons.
Annan and Gretna areas of Dumfries and Galloway
As there’s currently a cluster of coronavirus cases in Dumfries and Galloway, you shouldn’t travel further than 5 miles for leisure if you live in:
- DG16 (Gretna)
- DG12 (Annan)
- DG1 and DG2 (Dumfries)
- DG11 (Lockerbie)
- DG13 (Langholm)
- DG14 (Canonbie)
This advice does not apply to essential travel.
More about the coronavirus outbreak in Dumfries and Galloway.
Travelling to work
You can only travel to your workplace if you can’t work from home.
You can use public transport (buses, trams, subways, trains or aircraft) and private/commercial vehicles (car, taxi, minibus or lorry) to travel to and from work. Stay 2 meters apart whenever possible and avoid busier times of travel to ensure you can follow physical distancing
The Scottish Government has made the use of facial coverings mandatory when using public transport.
If you need to share a private vehicle with people from other households for an essential journey, try to limit the number of passengers and space out as much as possible.
People from the same household can travel in a private vehicle together in larger numbers for essential journeys.
When sharing a car:
- wash your hands before and after each journey
- catch coughs and sneezes in tissues or cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve or elbow (not your hands), put the tissues in a bin and wash hands immediately
- follow physical distancing as much as possible
- clean vehicles between different drivers or passengers
Schools and childcare
Staff can return to schools to prepare for reopening.
Childminding services and outdoor nurseries will reopen so more families can access essential childcare.
Support will be available to pupils at important milestones such as those due to start their first year of primary or secondary school.
Workers and business owners
You should continue to work from home if you can. If you can’t work from home, your employer is encouraged to stagger start times and flexible working.
Drive-through takeaways, garden centres, plant nurseries and household recycling centres will reopen with physical distancing in place.
Health and social care
Primary and community-based NHS services, including mental health, will reopen and:
- COVID-free GP services will be retained and digital consultations will increase
- the NHS Pharmacy First Scotland service will be rolled out in community pharmacies
- emergency dental hubs will provide more cover as dental practices prepare to reopen
- urgent planned surgery which was previously paused will be restarted
- IVF treatment will be resumed following the approval of The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority
- more emergency eyecare will be provided in the community
Carers and those being cared for
You can get respite and day care if you are an unpaid carer or have a disabled family member as long as you follow physical distancing and hygiene measures.
Visitors may be allowed into care homes.
Higher risk of severe illness
People who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus should strictly follow physical distancing measures.
Their household and other contacts should also strictly follow physical distancing advice.