Can I travel to see my extended household under new rules? New lockdown guidance explained

Owing to a spike in coronavirus infections, mainland Scotland is now under fresh national restrictions including a “stay at home” order.

Travel to see your extended household is exempt from restrictions.
Travel to see your extended household is exempt from restrictions.

The new rules mark a legal change to the activities people are permitted to take part in outside of the home.

What are the main changes to restrictions?

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The main change to restrictions is that all of mainland Scotland is now under level 4 restrictions, with people forbidden by law to leave their homes without an essential reason.

The 6/2 rule on meetings has also been changed to a 2/2 rule, with a maximum of two people from up to two households able to meet outdoors at a social distance. Children aged 11 and under do not count in this limit.

Schools will continue with online learning until at least the end of January.

Orkney; Shetland; Na h-Eileanan Siar; the following islands within Argyll and Bute: Coll, Colonsay, Erraid, Gometra, Iona, Islay, Jura, Mull, Oronsay, Tiree, and Ulva; and all islands in Highland, with the exception of Skye, which will remain at Level 3, are not subject to the “stay at home” order which mainland Scotland is now under.

What counts as an ‘essential reason’ for leaving home?

“Essential reasons” for leaving home include seeking urgent medical care, shopping for essentials and exercising.

It is against the law to leave your home without an essential reason - and you can be fined if caught by police.

You can find a non-exhaustive list of permitted essential reasons for leaving your home on the Scottish government’s website.

What does this mean for extended households?

You are still permitted to interact with your extended household, including overnight stays under the new rules. Visiting your extended household counts as an essential reason for leaving your home.

While the Scottish government is recommending everyone stay as close to home as possible, avoiding “unnecessary” travel, you are permitted to leave your council area if travelling to visit your extended household.

Who can form an extended household?

You can form an extended household if any of the following circumstances apply:

-At least one of the households is formed of a single adult, or a single adult with children under 18

-You are an adult in a relationship with another adult you do not live with. In this instance, these adults, and any children they live with, can form an extended household

There are certain rules you must follow when forming an extended household. These include:

-Only forming an extended household with one other household

-Both households must agree to form the extended household, and not form another with anyone else

-If someone in the extended household develops COVID-19 symptoms, to avoid spreading the virus all members of the extended household must isolate immediately if they met the symptomatic person at any time between 2 days before and up to 10 days after their symptoms started

-If the symptomatic person tests positive, all members of their direct household must isolate for 10 days from the start of symptoms. Similarly, other members of the extended household must isolate for 10 days from when the most recent contact took place

Can I change my extended household?

You are permitted to end an extended household arrangement at any time, but you should not form another extended household without a 14 day period in which you treat your former extended household as a separate household, avoiding contact with them.

This is to stop the spread of the virus between households.