Information for businesses

Latest Coronavirus restrictions

On Monday November 2 a new five-tier system of restrictions was introduced across each of Scotland's local authority areas. Levels (0-4) are be based on the prevalence of the virus. This is reviewed regularly. 

Following a review by the Scottish Government on December 8 Aberdeen remains in Level 2, however this will be closely monitored and may change ahead of the next national government review which is to take place on December 15.

Aberdeen City Council aims to revise its COVID-19 web pages as quickly as possible in response to government updates.  

Covid-19 – Regulations  

Throughout the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, our priority is to protect public health, while providing support and advice to businesses across Aberdeen City.  

The council has enforcement powers under legislation which has been made to introduce new temporary restrictions to help reduce the spread of the virus.  

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 come into force on Monday 2nd November.

The Council is the main regulator for retail, wholesale distribution and warehousing, hotel and catering premises, offices, and the consumer/leisure industries, including the requirements of physical distancing on these premises. We will be publishing information about what the new measures mean for businesses on this page in response to evolving government guidance.  

You may contact us if you have any questions 

If you have concerns about a business in Aberdeen or want advice on what you can or can not do please contact us using our online form.

New Restrictions for Hospitality Premises 

We have published a separate page providing information for Hospitality Businesses in Aberdeen

Businesses in Scotland which must close or remain closed in Level 2 

The following businesses and premises must close or remain closed. This reflects regulations that are in force.  

  •  a nightclub, dance hall or discotheque, 
  •  a concert hall,  
  • any other venue which;
    • (i) normally opens at night, 
    • (ii) has a dance floor or other space for dancing or spectating by members of the public (and for these purposes, members of staff of the venue in question are to be considered members of the public), and(iii) provides music, whether live or recorded 
  • a sexual entertainment venue 
  • an indoor or outdoor theatre, 
  • a comedy club, 
  • a soft play centre, 
  • a sports stadium, 
  • a conference or exhibition centre, 
  • a snooker or pool hall, 
  • a bowling alley, 
  • a casino, 
  • a funfair 

​​​​​​These businesses and venues must remain closed as they involve prolonged close social contact, which increases the chance of infection spreading.  

Close contact services in Level 2 

Mobile close contact service providers must not operate in level 2 with the exception of hairdressers and barbers. 

Mobile close contact services which must not operate include: 

  • beauty and nail services (including make-up), 
  • hair removal 
  • tattoo, piercing and body modification 
  • fashion design, dress-fitting and tailoring 
  • indoor portrait photography 
  • massage therapies 
  • complementary and alternative medicine services requiring physical contact or close physical proximity between persons, but not osteopathy and chiropractic services, 
  • spa and wellness services, 
  • other services or procedures which require physical contact or close physical proximity between a provider and a customer and are not ancillary to medical, health, or social care services.

Close contact retail services are permitted to operate providing they follow Scottish Government guidance to ensure the safety of customers and staff.   

Physical distancing for business, services, and places of worship

All businesses, services and places of worship must take measures to ensure, where reasonably practicable

  • The required distance is maintained between any persons on the premises (except for members of the same household or persons and their carers or between school pupils)
  • They only admit people in sufficiently small numbers to make the required distance possible
  • The required distance in any queue to enter the premises is maintained

Other measures need to be taken to minimise the covid-19 risk including:

  • changing the layout
  • controlling use of entrances or shared facilities
  • installing screens
  • use of PPE and signage

The required distance

For some premises known as ‘reduced distance premises’, it is at least 1m whilst for all other premises, it is 2m. 

And reduced distance premises are:

  • Passenger transport service premises (bus stations, train stations, etc);
  • Restaurants, cafes, bars, and pubs.

A business can move to the reduced 1m distance only if it has ‘mitigation measures’ in place.

Premises used for retail sale or hire of goods (shops) return to 2 metre physical distancing and reintroduce the mitigations they had in place earlier in the pandemic.

The requirement to collect customer and visitor details

So that the test and protect system can function as effectively as possible the following services should continue to follow guidance from the Scottish Government and collect and store customer details:

  • Tourism and leisure, including theme parks, museums, and cinemas 
  • Close contact services, including hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, tattooists, sports and massage therapists, dress fitters, tailors, and fashion designers 
  • Facilities provided by local authorities, such as libraries, leisure centres, and registration offices 
  • Cremation authorities, burial authorities, places of worship or funeral director service rooms offering funeral services 
  • Places of worship which are reopening for congregational services and communal prayer or contemplation

The requirements do not apply where services are taken off-site immediately, for example, a library operating a click-and-collect service or a food outlet that only provides takeaways. If premises offer a mixture of an on-site and collection service, contact information only needs to be collected for customers who remain on-site. 


Trading Standards and Environmental Health officers from the Protective Services team will be employing a robust enforcement approach.

Officers will be visiting hospitality businesses during busy periods and will take immediate action if it is required. 

Enforcement Options:

Guidance for Business

The Scottish Government has published guidance for the following sectors:

Social media

For the latest news from Aberdeen Trading Standards visit the Trading Standards Twitter page.

Frequently asked questions

The Scottish Government has published a four-phase route map for easing lockdown restrictions in response to COVID-19. 

If you are a business operating in Aberdeen city, or their employees looking for specific advice regarding whether you can reopen and the restrictions in place you can contact us through our online form.

Hospitality premises can now re-open in Aberdeen but must first book an assessment with the Environmental Health and Trading Standards. The form to book your assessment is above these questions and answers.

Other sectors should continue to follow Phase 3 guidance and be extra vigilant about hygiene and physical distancing. 

If you are considering reopening your premises to your employees and/or the public, the first thing you must carry out is a risk assessment for COVID-19. The HSE has extensive guidance and advice to assist you with this and other considerations for providing a safe workplace, for more information visit the HSE website. Please note that other links from the HSE website to pages regarding COVID-19 matters are for businesses based in England.  

Remember that your business model may have changed, and more of your employees may now be working from home – you must include them in your risk assessment.

You should also speak to your insurance company for any specifics they require you to assess.

The opening of public toilets carries with it a risk of transmission of COVID-19 given the low levels of natural light, lack of ventilation, many surfaces to touch, and the purpose of a toilet. Therefore, there is a need for careful consideration of how public toilets can be opened as safely as possible.  

The Scottish Government has issued guidance on the opening of public and customer toilets during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Employers, the self-employed, and people in control of premises, such as landlords, have a duty to protect people by identifying and controlling risks associated with legionella.

If your building was closed or has reduced occupancy during the COVID-19 outbreak, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease.

The bacteria are carried in aerosol droplets from outlets such as showerheads, spray taps at sinks, spa pools, garden hoses attached to sprinklers, air conditioning systems, etc.

Before reopening your building, you must take steps to control the risks of legionella. Traditional methods of control include storing hot water above 60°C, and ensuring it reaches 50°C within one minute of running the hot water tap.  Similarly, cold water should be stored and distributed below 20°C.

Given the current restrictions, maintenance staff or specialist contractors may not be able to attend your premises to take monthly temperatures.  In these situations, you should introduce twice-weekly flushing of your system as a short-term measure to increase water turnover.  You should continue to check water temperatures monthly and actioning any out-of-range temperatures.  All these actions must be logged.

If your building has been completely closed, you must act a few weeks before reopening:

  • 2-3 weeks before reopening: you should consider a building chlorination, especially if you have cold water storage tanks.  This is because the temperature of the water in these systems is likely to have increased above 20°C.  Take a water sample at this stage, as this gives you time to action unfavourable results.  
  • 2-3 days before reopening: you should raise the temperature at hot water storage vessels/calorifier(s) to 60°C and turn the hot water taps on at every outlet.  Continue to flush the water until the temperature remains stable.  Those carrying out these checks are most at risk from the bacteria and must take precautions, such as covering spray taps with a clean cloth, or placing a clean plastic bag over a showerhead that cannot be removed, and cutting a corner of the bag.  Continue to flush the system regularly until the building is back in regular use.  Again, ensure you log all these actions.
  • If your workplace has been closed for an extended period and has air conditioning units that have a source of water that can generate aerosol, you will need to assess the risks of legionella being present within them before restarting. Small wall or ceiling-mounted units with closed cooling systems should not present a risk.

Larger units may present a risk if they have improperly drained condensate trays, or humidifier or evaporative cooling sections where water can stagnate, becoming a reservoir for bacteria to grow.

You must also update your Legionella risk assessment with any changes made to the water system or its operation and ensure the written control scheme is also updated.  You must also decide what the risks are for your air conditioning units and if you need to clean them safely before they are turned on.

More information is available on the HSE website and in Guidance produced by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) - Legionnaires’ disease: lockdown risks and reopening safely.

The risk of air conditioning spreading coronavirus is extremely low.  If you use a centralised ventilation system that removes and circulates air to different rooms, it is recommended that you turn off recirculation and use a fresh air supply. 

You do not need to adjust other types of air conditioning systems. If you’re unsure, speak to your heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineers or advisers.  Good ventilation is encouraged to help reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus. 

If your workplace has been closed for an extended period and has air conditioning units that have a source of water that can generate aerosol, you will however need to assess the risks of legionella being present within them before restarting. 

There may be potential challenges when carrying out legal requirements for a thorough examination and testing (TE&T) of plant and equipment as a result of additional precautions people need to take to help reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). 

The law for Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) and Pressure Systems Safety Regulations (PSSR) remain in place. 
You must ensure that your work plant and equipment are and remain safe to use.   

HSE has provided advice to help duty holders ensure that their work plant and equipment remain safe to use and to guide decision making to see if TE&T requirements can still be met. For information visit the HSE website

Remote working should remain the default position for those who can. Those whose job relies on being the office can be asked to return, assuming safe working practices have been implemented. 

You must only report cases of COVID-19 matters arising out of or in connection with work under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) under the following circumstances:   

  • an unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence. 
  • a worker has been diagnosed as having COVID-19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work. This must be reported as a case of disease. 
  • a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus. 

Employers need to have reasonable evidence that the COVID-19 element is work-related.  More information is available from HSE: RIDDOR reporting. 



Staff should be trained to wash their hands properly following an effective handwashing technique [to wash hands for the required 20 seconds with soap and water]. The importance of thorough and effective handwashing must be reinforced throughout your premises. Every wash hand basin must have access to hot water and be equipped with liquid hand soap and disposable paper towels. 
It is important to follow an effective handwashing technique to ensure that no areas of your hands are missed.  The same technique should be followed when using hand sanitisers. Commonly missed areas are fingertips and thumbs. 

Hand sanitisers 

The use of hand sanitiser should not be used as a substitute for effective handwashing.   Strict and frequent hand hygiene should be ensured, with alcohol-based hand sanitisers being used when hand washing is not available. 
Hand sanitiser dispensers should not be placed above or close to potential sources of ignition, such as light switches and electrical outlets due to the increased risk of vapours igniting. 

Staff should be advised to let their hands completely dry and the vapours disperse after using alcohol hand sanitiser.  Staff should also be advised not to smoke immediately after use.  
As part of your risk assessment, concerning fires, consideration should be given to the location of dispensers, the storage of stock, and the disposal of used containers/dispensers.

Face coverings 

Wearing of face coverings must not be used as an alternative to physical distancing, handwashing and respiratory hygiene.   
The Government has stated that it does not expect to see employers relying on face coverings as risk management for their health and safety assessments.  Therefore, we will not accept the wearing of masks or face coverings as a control instead of physical distancing for the protection of employees working in an establishment, where physical distancing is manageable (e.g. not manageable in care homes). 
If a face mask (PPE) was required for your job before, because of dust, etc., you must ensure your employees are still provided with sufficient supplies for them to carry out their role safely. 

Taking employees’ temperature

Relying on taking the temperature of employees alone is not a robust control, as it will only detect people who have a fever (i.e. a higher than normal body temperature).  It cannot detect whether someone is infected with COVID-19. 
Just like face coverings above, we will not accept the taking of temperatures of staff at the start of their working day as a control instead of implementing proper physical distancing, where it is achievable, and high standards of premises cleanliness and staff hygiene.  Discuss symptoms with employees before they start every shift, and check whether they – or any person they live with – are experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19.   

There is a wealth of information available on the NHS Inform website about the symptoms of COVID-19 and what you should do if you think you have any of these symptoms.  This advice is available in several languages on the website. 
If an employee attends work displaying any of the symptoms:  

  • A new continuous cough 
  • A high temperature  
  • A loss of or change in sense of taste or smell  

They should be sent home straight away to self-isolate.  They should minimise contact with others and use a private vehicle to travel home.  If private transport is not possible then they should be advised to return home quickly and directly.  If they need clinical advice, they should go online to NHS 111 or call 111 if they do not have access to the internet.  

If another member of staff had helped someone displaying these symptoms they do not need to go home unless they start displaying symptoms themselves.  They should however wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone unwell with symptoms consistent with Coronavirus infection. 

Cleaning and disinfection should be carried out after a possible case has left the workplace. 

Guidance on appropriate environmental decontamination can be found at the Health Protection Scotland website. 

When operating a business from your home that part of your house used for the business is trade premise and therefore the business can continue. 

It will continue to be subject to the appropriate health measures. If you are operating a business such as beauty/hairdressing you must follow the appropriate sector guidance. 

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