Here’s when Scotland will enter phase 3 of its lockdown plan - and the rules that will be lifted

By Claire Schofield
Friday, 26th June 2020, 4:48 pm
Updated Friday, 26th June 2020, 4:49 pm
A number of new measures came into effect in Scotland from 19 June (Photo: Getty Images)
A number of new measures came into effect in Scotland from 19 June (Photo: Getty Images)

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced when Scotland can expect to enter phase three of its lockdown exit plan, following the recent relaxation of restrictions.

The country is currently in phase two of its plan, with a number of new measures in effect after the latest review by the Scottish Government on 18 June.

But what changes can be expected in the next phase of the government’s plan? Here’s everything you need to know.

Most Popular

    When will Scotland enter phase 3?

    While a number of new measures came into effect in Scotland from 19 June, Ms Sturgeon announced on Wednesday (24 June) that further relaxations will follow next month.

    Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Ms Sturgeon outlined dates for the reopening of several businesses in July, including pubs, restaurants and indoor shops.

    She also said that she hopes phase three will begin on 9 July, after the review from the Scottish Government, which is held every three weeks as a minimum.

    Any changes that are made could then come into force within days of this date, providing it is considered safe to do so.

    However, Ms Sturgeon warned that she does not expect all of the phase three easing to happen at one time, but in gradual stages instead.

    What rules will be lifted in phase 3?

    When Scotland enters phase three, day-to-day life will start to feel closer to normal, with the virus having been suppressed and an effective Test and Protect system in place to help control any local outbreaks.

    This phase will include a significant number of changes as more of the economy is opened up, and restrictions on seeing family and friends become more relaxed.

    Here are all the major changes to expect:

    Seeing family and friends

    People will be able to meet with more than one household indoors, with physical distancing and hygiene measures in place from 10 July.

    Households will also be able to meet more people outdoors, and the extended household model will see an expansion.

    Overnight stays for those who do not live alone could also be permitted once Scotland enters phase three, if it is considered safe.


    Travel beyond your local area for leisure and exercise purposes will be allowed, with the five mile limit no longer in place from 3 July.

    Public transport will be operating full services, although capacity will be limited to allow for physical distancing. Travel during peak times will still be discouraged where possible.

    Schools and childcare

    Children were initially expected to return to school under a blended model of part-time in school teaching, part-time in home learning.

    Schools were expected to be open on this basis on August 11.

    However, the Scottish Government now believes that children will be able to return to school full-time in August.

    Universities and colleges are currently expected to return in phases, combining remote learning with limited on campus learning.

    Childcare providers are to reopen in phase three, subject to public health measures, with available capacity prioritised to support key worker childcare, early learning and childcare entitlement, and children in need.

    Work and business

    Remote working will remain the default position for those who can.

    Indoor office workplaces, including contact centres, can reopen with physical distancing once guidance has been agreed.

    Shops, pubs and restaurants

    After non-essential shops with entrances and exits to the outside open from 29 June, non-essential shops in indoor shopping malls will be permitted to reopen from 13 July, with physical distancing.

    And while beer gardens can open from 6 July, pubs and restaurants can also reopen indoor spaces on 15 July.

    Personal retail services, including hairdressers, will also be allowed to open fro 15 July with appropriate distancing and hygiene measures.

    Sport, culture and leisure

    Museums, galleries, cinemas and libraries can reopen on 15 July.

    The government route map suggests that gyms may open in phase 3. However, there is currently no date for when this will happen in place.

    There will be a relaxation of restrictions on accommodation providers, including hotels, B&Bs and holiday homes, and live events will be permitted with restricted numbers.

    Community and public services

    Justice system processes and services will resume.

    Gatherings and occasions

    People can meet in extended groups, with physical distancing, places of worship can open to extended groups.

    Restrictions on funeral attendance, marriages, civil partnerships and other services will be relaxed to beyond close family.

    Health and social care

    There will be an expansion of screening services and adult flu vaccinations in care homes and at home.

    All dental practices will begin to see registered patients and all community optometry will reopen with social distancing safeguards.

    There will also be a phased resumption of visiting care homes by family members in a controlled way.

    What rules will be lifted before phase 3?

    A couple of rules are expected to come into force before Scotland enters phase three on 9 July.

    Ms Sturgeon has said that the restriction on Scots travelling no more than five miles from their home for leisure and recreational purposes will be lifted on 3 July.

    However, the First Minister urged people not to travel unnecessarily, and to avoid travelling to crowded places.

    After postponing the reopening of beer gardens and outdoor spaces in restaurants last week, Ms Sturgeon also announced that beer gardens and outdoor spaces in restaurants will be allowed to reopen from 6 July.