Can I travel during the Scotland October holidays? Travel rules explained as tougher restrictions enforced in the Central Belt
There is currently no ban on travel abroad for people who live in an area under local restrictions
Stricter lockdown restrictions came into effect in Scotland on Friday (9 October), in response to a rising number of coronavirus cases.
Under new rules, indoor hospitality venues in Scotland must now operate on reduced hours, between 6am and 6pm, selling food and non-alcoholic drinks only.
Licenced premises in the Central Belt, which includes the health board areas of Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian (including the city of Edinburgh), and Forth Valley, will be closed for a 16 day period.
With the October half-term holidays coming up, many families across Scotland may be planning a short getaway. But what do rules say about travel in areas facing local restrictions? Here’s everything you need to know.
Can people under local restrictions go on holiday?
Government guidance states that you can travel anywhere within Scotland, unless there are local restrictions in place advising you not to do so.
Currently, there are seven areas of Scotland which have local restrictions in place. These are:
- East Dunbartonshire
- East Renfrewshire
- Glasgow City
- North Lanarkshire
- South Lanarkshire
- West Dunbartonshire
The Scottish government has advised people who live in the Central Belt region, which includes the health board areas of Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian (including the city of Edinburgh), and Forth Valley, not to travel outside of their area from 10 to 25 October if they do not need to.
Likewise, people who live in other parts of Scotland have been asked not to visit the Central Belt unless it is absolutely necessary.
However, no formal travel restrictions have been put in place as yet and the First Minister said the government is “not insisting that people cancel any half-term breaks they have planned.”
Rules state that you cannot visit another household indoors, or stay with them, but you can stay in private accommodation, such as a flat, caravan or holiday cottage. This must only be with members of your own, or extended household.
You can also stay in a hotel or bed and breakfast, but you cannot share a room with someone from outside your household. Socialising indoors, such as in each other’s rooms, reception areas, restaurants and bars, should also be avoided.
It is also recommended that you do not share a caravan with another household, and avoid sharing private vehicles to travel to your holiday destination.
People in Scotland are also advised not to travel to areas of England where local restrictions are in place, unless the journey is absolutely necessary.
What about foreign travel?
There is currently no ban on travel abroad for people who live in an area under local restrictions, but quarantine restrictions are in place for some countries.
If you arrive in Scotland from a country outside of the Common Travel Area, you must self-isolate for 14 days, unless you have travelled from a country exempt from quarantine restrictions.
The Common Travel Area includes England, Northern Ireland, Wales, Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man, and only applies if you were there for 14 days or more before arriving in Scotland.
If you travel to any regions not featured on the travel corridors list, including Spain, France, Portugal and Turkey, you must self-isolate on your return.
What happens if rules change while I’m away?
Guidance states that if you are on holiday with another household at the time local restrictions are brought in, and are staying in a private home, you should finish your holiday as planned if it is not reasonable for you to curtail your stay.
However, until the end of your holiday you should make every effort to reduce socialising indoors outside of your household and follow local regulations and guidance.
If you are travelling in a country that is removed from the travel corridors exemptions list, it is not advised that you immediately return to the UK. Instead, you should continue to follow the local advice.
You may be required to self-isolate when you arrive back in the UK depending on the date quarantine restrictions take effect.