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Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): business and social distancing guidance

Guidance for businesses in Scotland on social distancing, including the closure of all retailers that sell non-essential goods and other non-essential premises due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): business and social distancing guidance


Social distancing measures are for everyone, including business. We should all be trying to reduce social interaction between people in order to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. 

We recognise this is a very testing time for business in Scotland.  We are grateful to the many companies that are being responsible by actively supporting homeworking and allowing staff the time off for isolation. Other companies are pivoting production to contribute to fighting COVID-19 (e.g. producing sanitisers, ventilators etc.).

However, when we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why we have introduced three new measures, described in more detail in the guidance Coronavirus (COVID-19): staying at home and away from others:

  • requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes (including travelling for work purposes, but only where they cannot work from home)
  • closing certain business and venues (see section below on businesses and premises which must close)
  • stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

Every person in Scotland must comply with these new measures, which came into effect on 26 March 2020 and were revised on 21 April 2020, primarily to formalise social distancing requirements for all businesses which remain open during the emergency period.

The relevant authorities, including the police, have been given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.