Social Distancing Regulations Strengthened

Social distancing regulations introduced to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed and extended to protect workers.

Temporary regulations restricting public gatherings and non-essential business activity have been in force since 26 March.

The regulations must be reviewed every 3 weeks and are kept under continual review by the Scottish Government.  A number of amendments have now been made to protect workers and provide further guidance for people in Scotland.

The adjustments to the regulations include formalising the two metre distancing rules to all businesses that remain open. Businesses that do not take all reasonable measures to enforce those rules could be fined or ultimately prosecuted.

The legislation will also make clear that livestock markets and money advice services such as foreign exchange services can continue to operate, while holiday accommodation businesses can manage online and telephone services for bookings related to future dates. A technical change has also been made to clarify that burial grounds can stay open.

Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell said:

“I would like to thank people and businesses across Scotland who have been following social distancing measures over the last three weeks and helping to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.
“From the outset, we have said these regulations are temporary and will be kept under review. After careful consideration, we have decided that it is necessary for these regulations to continue for the protection of public health.
“We have also made some minor amendments to the regulations to enhance their operation and social distancing for businesses, as well as making it more explicit that services relating to livestock, money, and online holiday bookings can remain open.
“The restrictions are tough and have had an impact on everyone’s lives but they are necessary to protect public health and our NHS, and we will continue to keep them under review.”


Following Royal Assent of the UK Coronavirus Bill, the Scottish regulations came into force on 26 March and were approved by the Scottish Parliament on 1 April.

The Scottish Government is required to review the regulations at least once every 21 days, with the first review made on 16 April.

The regulations can be found here.

Updated guidance following these changes can be found here.

Specific guidance on business and social distancing is also available here.

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