Coronavirus | Restrictions in Scotland


From Saturday, January 16, only retailers selling essential items will be allowed to operate click and collect services in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Electrical retailers will be permitted to offer click and collect but must ensure that the services is provided to customers by appointment only.

Under no circumstances must customers be allowed to go into the store.

Full regulation and guidance will be released shortly.

For more detailed information and guidance, please visit the Scottish Government's webpages by clicking the button below.

New grants announced for retailers in Scotland

A significant top-up to the grant support available for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses across Scotland closed by level 4 restrictions will be paid following an announcement on January 11 by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes.

In addition to the grants businesses receive through the Strategic Business Framework Fund, eligible businesses will also get a one off grant of:

  • £9,000 for larger retail and leisure businesses on top of the 4-weekly £3,000
  • £6,000 for smaller retail and leisure businesses on top of the 4-weekly £2,000
  • £25,000 for larger hospitality businesses on top of the 4-weekly £3,000
  • £6,000 for smaller hospitality businesses on top of the 4-weekly £2,000

In most cases, eligible businesses that have already applied for the 4-weekly payment from the Strategic Framework Business Fund will get an automatic top-up.

For the majority, this top-up will be combined with the next tranche of payment for the Strategic Framework Business Fund due to go to businesses on January 25.

Businesses that haven’t yet applied for either of these funds should submit an application as soon as possible through their local authority website. Applications are now open.

Whether your business is eligible will depend on where your premises are located and what level of restrictions are in place at any point in time.

The grants will be paid every four weeks in arrears

For more information click the button below.

Key points for retailers & installers operating in Scotland under the 'Stay at Home' restrictions.

Only essential retail will be able to remain open providing they follow and have implemented Scottish Government guidance to ensure the safety of customers and staff. 

Adults, unless accompanying by a vulnerable person or a child/children under 18, should shop alone, where possible.

A list of essential retail can be found in the question and answer section of the retail sector guidance under the sub heading ‘the shopping experience’.  This list was recently updated to reflect changes which came into force on 26 December 2020, replacing the previously permitted category of “homeware, building supplies and hardware stores” with “building merchants and suppliers of products and tools used in building work and repairs”.  Garden Centres and plant nurseries have also been removed from the list of essential retail. Please check retailers’ websites before travelling to see whether this change affects them.

Tradespeople should only go into a house to carry out or deliver essential work or services, for example:

  • to carry out utility (electricity, gas, water, telephone, broadband) safety checks, repairs, maintenance and installations
  • to carry out repairs and maintenance that would otherwise threaten the household’s health and safety
  • to deliver goods or shopping, where essential
  • to deliver, install or repair key household furniture and appliances such as washing machines, fridges and cookers
  • to support a home move, for example furniture removal

Safety when working in someone else’s home

When carrying out essential work in someone’s house, tradespeople should stay 2 metres apart from the people who live there, wear a face covering and follow good hand and respiratory hygiene.

Risk Assessment

If you need help completing a risk assessment then you can download a risk assessment example together with support guides from our 'Essential Documents' page, or directly from your Member Dashboard.

Scottish Government's Approach to Mandatory Face Coverings (response from the Scottish Retail Consortium)

The First Minister announced on 2 July a new requirement to wear mandatory face coverings in retail settings.  These regulations will come into effect on 10 July 2020.

Below is a read out of the issues that have been so far raised with the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC), and their understanding of the likely requirements. Please note as the final guidance has not yet been published there is the potential for these responses to evolve, and both the SRC and Retra will keep Members informed of any further developments in this area.

  • Staff will be required to wear face coverings during the hours stores are open to customers in internal customer facing parts of the store.  Scottish Government has not yet taken a final view on whether colleagues will be expected to wear face coverings in non-customer facing parts of the store. Their inclination is if workers are working between customer and non-customer facing parts of the store (i.e. going between warehouses and shopfloor) then a face covering is required, but if working for an extended period in non-customer facing work they do not. 
  • Clarity is being sought as to whether face coverings are required for colleagues if a store is still maintaining 2 metre physical distancing. 
  • Where staff are operating in food preparation areas, or in any role where there is existing legislation covering food safety, then those rules take precedence. Food Standards Scotland have provided guidance here which should guide businesses with regards to food safety.  There are concerns around fabric coverings in food preparation areas, and current evidence indicates no link between food and COVID-19 transmission. It is therefore important that wearing a face covering doesn’t affect the hygiene controls that should already be in place to ensure food is protected from other bacteria and viruses that can cause food poisoning. If there is any concern that wearing a face covering could present a risk to the food, the shop worker would not be required to wear one.
  • Enforcement will be carried out by Police Scotland. Scottish Ministers will endeavour to provide national messaging and communication to support a consistent approach across the whole of Scotland. There is no obligation for enforcement on retailers or retail workers. 
  • Scottish Government will be launching a communications push this week to make consumers aware of the rules. They are working on signage and messaging for retailers, and will communicate with businesses as soon as they are able to do so. It’s likely this signage will replace the previous materials provided. They haven’t taken a final view, but Mr Hepburn said they would look to be sensible where retailers produce their own materials. We await clarity on whether retailers will be expected to inform customers if the store is operating 1m or 2m physical distancing rules. 
  • Staff operating in external retail environments (such as a building material yard) will not be expected to wear face coverings.
  • Face visors will not be acceptable as a face covering as they do not cover the mouth. They can be worn alongside a fabric covering for the mouth and nose.
  • SRC are still seeking clarity on whether quick service restaurants and food to go businesses are classed as retail or hospitality businesses. Our assumption is they will be treated as retail businesses (as hospitality businesses have different rules as they will be expected to collect customer information).
  • Colleagues who have health conditions who cannot put on, wear, or remove a face covering because of any physical or mental illness or impairment or disability or without distress are not required to wear a face covering (the same rules apply to customers)
  • Retailers will be expected to comply with licensing legislation with regard to age restricted sales, including asking customers to remove face coverings if required to verify a customer is age appropriate. Refusal to remove a face covering is a justifiable reason to refuse to sell a product to a customer. 
  • Colleagues working behind Perspex screens will not be required to wear face coverings.
  • Customers queuing outside a store will not be required to wear a face covering.
  • A shopping mall is considered an indoor shopping environment so face coverings must be worn throughout customer facing areas during opening hours. 
  • Children under 5, and customers with relevant health conditions, are not required to wear face coverings.On the call this morning the Minister made some specific requests for feedback, which are collated below.
  • Does your business have a view on whether colleagues should be required to wear face coverings in non-customer facing work?
  • Would you prefer to use Scottish Government branded materials to inform customers (as was done with Minimum Unit Pricing of Alcohol) or your own materials with Scottish Government logos?
  • Will you be using your own communications channels to inform customers of these rules? If so, are there materials or guidance you need from Scottish Government?

The SRC's Head of Policy and External Affairs, Mr Ewan MacDonald-Russell has pledged to seek further clarity on any of the above points ahead of an official release from the Scottish Government on behalf of retailers operating in Scotland. 

You can email queries to by clicking the button below

Scottish Government Support for Businesses

The Scottish Government has put a comprehensive package of measures worth £2.3 billion in place to help sustain businesses and, crucially, help them pay staff and treat staff fairly. 

This includes:

  • 100% rates relief for properties in the retail, hospitality, leisure and airport sectors
  • 1.6% rates relief for all non-domestic properties across Scotland
  • a local authority-delivered Business Support Fund with grants to help protect jobs, prevent business closure and promote economic recovery
  • a £100 million fund to support newly self-employed people and SME businesses in distress due to COVID-19
  • a package worth £60 million agreed with the water industry to help businesses facing difficulties with water charges during the outbreak
  • an initial package of more than £5 million for the fishing industry to help more than 650 vulnerable seafood fishing vessels
  • a £10 million scheme will provide financial support for seafood processors
  • a £3 million scheme for around 100 businesses which make a full time living from shellfish growing and trout farming
  • a £3.5 million package to help large sea fishing vessels 

Business Support Fund

The Scottish Government has set up a grant scheme which offers a total support package worth over £1 billion to business. This is part of the wider business support package worth £2.3 billion.

So that funding can be distributed as quickly as possible, eligibility for the grant scheme is linked to the non-domestic rates system.

Scroll down to see more information below.

Grants for businesses in Scotland

The Scottish Government has made available a grant of up to £10,000 to non-domestic ratepayers with properties in receipt of:

  • Small Business Bonus Scheme relief (SBBS) or Rural Relief
  • Nursery Relief, Disabled Relief, Business Growth Accelerator, discretionary Sports Relief, Enterprise Areas Relief, Fresh Start Relief, or Charitable Rate Relief but eligible for SBBS

This has been extended to include ratepayers that hold one or more properties within retail, hospitality or leisure, with individual rateable values not exceeding £18,000, and the cumulative rateable value for all properties held is between £35,001 and £51,000, who will be eligible to apply for the Small Business Grant Fund for each of their retail, hospitality, or leisure properties from 5 May 2020.

A £25,000 grant is available to the ratepayers of properties in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with property with a rateable value between £18,001 - £51,000.

This grant is targeted at supporting small businesses, and those medium sized businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector, who are liable for non-domestic rates in order to maximise the number of businesses we can support. 

In addition to the 100% grant on the first property, ratepayers will also be eligible for a 75% grant on each subsequent property that meets the criteria for each grant. Applications for grants on additional properties will be open from 5 May.  

A new £100 million package of additional grant support for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and newly self-employed is also available.

The funds which make up the £100 million support package are as follows:

  • £34 million Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund, managed by local authorities, will be allocated to the newly self-employed who are ineligible for UK support (as they became self-employed since April 2019) but are facing hardship with £2,000 grants
  • £20 million Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund, managed by the Enterprise Agencies with support from Creative Scotland and VisitScotland for small and micro creative, tourism and hospitality companies not in receipt of business rates relief with grants of up to £25K
  • £45 million Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund, managed by the Enterprise Agencies providing bespoke grants and wrap around business support to viable but vulnerable SMEs who are vital to the local or national economic foundations of Scotland

The three separate funds will be administered by local authorities and Scotland’s enterprise agencies and will begin to pay out grants in early May.

Applicants can access these funds and more by clicking the button below.

Businesses in Scotland may also be eligible for the following support schemes announced by the UK Government:


A helpline providing businesses across Scotland with advice and guidance on COVID-19 is available Monday to Friday, between 8.30am and 5.30pm. The business helpline number is 0300 303 0660

Callers should select option one to speak to the COVID-19 team. 

 Advisers will answer questions from businesses related to COVID-19. The helpline will also help the Scottish Government identify the current challenges facing businesses..