Latest coronavirus restrictions - level 4

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 based on the prevalence of the virus. This is reviewed regularly.

Aberdeen is in Level 4 along with the rest of mainland Scotland.

The Scottish Government announced tougher restrictions for Level 4 as part of the ongoing response to COVID-19 will remain in place until at least mid-February, with a review taking place 2 February 2021. 

Some of these restrictions will be included in regulations coming into force on Saturday January 16. More information on these changes can be found on our Information for Businesses page and also on our information on Visiting Shops and Hospitality page.

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

Enhanced level 4 restrictions

School start date changes  

The school term restart date has been amended.  

From 5 January to mid-February, schools can only open to in-person learning for children of key workers and vulnerable children, with remote learning for all other children and young people. This will be reviewed 2 February 2021.

More information from Scottish Government.

The Council will be sharing local updates in due course.

Hospitality premises 

  • Restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars will be closed. 
  • Takeaways can still operate as normal, provided food and drink is sold for consumption off the premises. Face coverings and physical distancing rules must be followed.   
  • From Saturday January 16 takeaway businesses will have to operate from a serving hatch or doorway. Customers will no longer be permitted to go inside to collect their food and drink. 

  • Anyone purchasing alcohol from a takeaway will not be permitted to consume it outdoors in a public place.   

  • Wedding ceremonies, civil partnership registrations and funerals can take place in a place of worship, registration office or hospitality venue with a maximum number of 5 people (including the couple, the  registrar or celebrant, and the witnesses, (6 if an interpreter is required) providing the venue’s capacity allows for appropriate physical distancing.
  • Funerals can take place with a maximum capacity of 20, provided the venue’s capacity allows for 2 metre physical distancing.
  • Wedding or civil partnership receptions and post-funeral gatherings, such as wakes cannot take place.

Shops and travel

  • 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.
  • Shops must apply the two metre physical distancing rules. They must limit the number of customers inside their premises to ensure this distance can be maintained and take measures to control queues outside of their premises. 
  • Face coverings are compulsory in shops and on buses, trains, planes, and taxis.
  • Click and Collect services can operate from essential retail and also from businesses selling electrical goods, that do key cutting, undertake shoe repairs, garden centres and plant nurseries and that those that sell clothes, footwear, baby equipment, homeware and books. 
  • Close contact services such as hairdressers, barbers', beauticians and mobile close contact service providers must not operate.
  • By law, you can only leave your home (or garden) if you have a reasonable excuse. 
  • You can travel for local outdoor sport or exercise such as meeting another person, walking, cycling, golf or running that starts and finishes at the same place (which can be up to 5 miles from the boundary of your local authority area), as long as you abide by the rules on meeting other households. 

Inside people’s homes 

  • You should not meet people in your home or another person’s home socially unless you have formed an extended household. 
  • These rules apply to children. 
  • Children whose parents do not live in the same household can move between homes, as can non-cohabiting couples. 
  • Limited exemptions apply including for childcare and tradespeople and providing support or care to a vulnerable person. . 

Private gardens or public outdoors spaces 

  • A maximum of two people from two households can meet in outdoor spaces for sport, exercise or social interaction.
  • You should limit as far as possible the total number of households you meet in a day. 
  • Under 12s do not count towards the maximum number of households or the number of people who can meet outdoors. Under-12s do not have to physically distance. 

Sports and exercise

  • A maximum of 2 people from 2 separate households can meet outdoors for sport or exercise. Children under 12 do not count towards households or numbers when meeting outside. 
  • The members of an individual household or extended household can meet outdoors for sport or exercise. 
  • Indoor sports facilities are closed. 
  • Outdoor gyms can remain open. 
  • Outdoor non-contact sports such as golf and tennis are permitted for all age groups provided this is within a single household group, or the group contains no more than 2 people from 2 different households.  Children under the age of 12 from these households do not count towards this number. 
  • Organised sport and exercise can only take place within a single household group, or a group containing no more than 2 people from 2 different households.  Children under the age of 12 from these households do not count towards this number. 
  • Organised sport and exercise for under-12s can continue in line with workplace and socialising guidance, and sport-specific guidance agreed between the Scottish Governing Body of Sport and sportscotland. Sports providers must ensure they operate in line with the relevant guidance.  


If you are able to work from home, you must do so wherever possible. By law, employers must take all reasonable steps to minimise the risk of the incidence and spread of coronavirus. This includes supporting staff to work from home for those roles that can be undertaken remotely. If staff were working from home during the first lockdown in March 2020 they should be working from home now.


For information on shielding under these level 4 restrictions please visit our Shielding Page.

Car sharing 

You should only car share with members of your own, or extended, household, and follow guidance when there is no alternative. 

Holiday accommodation

All holiday accommodation is closed to tourism.  Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering can remain open for essential customers only:

  • anyone who is using that accommodation for essential work purposes
  • anyone who requires accommodation to attend a funeral
  • anyone who is providing accommodation or support services to the homeless
  • anyone who uses that accommodation as their main residence
  • anyone who needs accommodation while moving home
  • anyone who is unable to return to their main residence

Hotels and other accommodation providers can still serve food to qualifying guests staying in their premises up to 10.00pm.

Room service, including alcohol, is allowed as normal. 

The Scottish Government has issued guidance on what you can and cannot do under these enhanced level 4 restrictions.  

FACTS Advice 

F - Face coverings in enclosed spaces. Shops, public transport or anywhere else inside that physical distancing might be more difficult.  
A - Avoid all crowded places. Indoors and outdoors.   
C - Clean your hands and hard surfaces regularly.  
T - Two metre distancing remains the overall advice.   
S - Self isolate and book a test if you have any of the symptoms of COVID.

The Protect Scotland app 

The Protect Scotland app is now available. The Scottish Government is urging all smartphone users across Scotland to download NHS Scotland’s new contact tracing app to help suppress the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). It lets people know if they have been in close contact with someone who later tests positive. It can be downloaded for free onto a smart phone from Apple's App Store or Google Play.  

Supported by a dedicated Protect Scotland website, the app is an extra tool complementing existing person-to-person contact tracing which remains the main component of NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect system.  

What role does Aberdeen City Council have to play?   

The focus of Aberdeen City Council’s Trading Standards and Environmental Health officers will be on providing information on restrictions for those businesses that cannot yet open and providing enforcement measures and information on new measures for those that can.  

The Council is the main regulator for retail, wholesale distribution and warehousing, hotel and catering premises, offices, and the consumer/leisure industries. 

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

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations came into force on November 2.

More information can be found on the Trading Standards & Environmental Health information for business page.

Police Scotland also have enforcement powers under these regulations which include the issuing of fixed penalty notices to businesses and the public.  They strive to engage with the public to explain the legislation and guidance and encourage compliance. They will use enforcement as a last resort only where there is a clear breach of the legislation.   

If you have any concerns about people gathering in public, house parties, or people not wearing face coverings in shops and on public transport, please contact Police Scotland on 101.  

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the regulator for premises including manufacturing, construction, waste and sites subject to major hazards legislation. Enquiries about working safely to protect people from COVID-19 at work can be raised with HSE.

Frequently asked questions

Level 4 frequently asked questions.

You may contact us if you have any questions 

If you want advice on what you can or cannot do please contact us using our online form;

For regular updates please follow us on Facebook, Twitter or sign up to our newsletter.

Return to Coronavirus (Covid-19) page.

Did you find what you were looking for?

Status message

Please note, this form is anonymous, we can't reply directly to your feedback. If you would like to report an issue, make a complaint or suggestion, please Contact Us.