ImportantDue to the system processing for the new Council Tax bills for 2021/22 the Council Tax and Benefits Self Service will not be available from 6.30pm on Friday 5 March until 5pm on Thursday 11 March.  

Visiting shops and hospitality - level 4 enhanced

Latest Coronavirus restrictions

On 5 January, mainland Scotland, including Aberdeen, was been placed under Enhanced Level 4 restrictions until at least the middle of March.

On 23 February the Scottish Government laid out a cautious strategic framework out of lockdown alongside an indicative timeframe. The restrictions for Level 4 as part of the ongoing response to COVID-19 will remain in place until at least the middle of March.  The Scottish Government announced on 2 March that it plans  to confirm on 9 March changes to level 4 restrictions and consider whether it is possible to accelerate exit from lockdown with a careful and cautious approach.

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

Covid-19 – regulations  

Throughout the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, our priority is to protect public health, while providing support and advice to businesses across Aberdeen City.  

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

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 come into force on Monday 2 November.

The Council is the main regulator for retail, wholesale distribution and warehousing, hotel and catering premises, offices, and the consumer/leisure industries, including the requirements of physical distancing on these premises. We will be publishing information about what the new measures mean for businesses on this page in response to evolving government guidance.  

Enhanced Level 4 restrictions  


  • 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. For retailers which have been defined as non-essential – i.e., not on the list below - the legal position is that they will need to close. 

 Those that can remain open are:   

  • food retailers, including food markets, supermarkets, convenience stores and corner shops 
  • off-licences and licensed shops selling alcohol (including breweries) 
  • pharmacies (including non-dispensing pharmacies) and chemists 
  • newsagents 
  • building merchants and suppliers of products and tools used in building work and repairs 
  • petrol stations 
  • car repair and MOT services 
  • bicycle shops 
  • taxi or vehicle hire businesses 
  • banks, building societies, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs, cash points and undertakings which by way of business operate a currency exchange office, transmit money (or any representation of money) by any means or cash cheques which are made payable to customers 
  • post offices 
  • funeral directors 
  • laundrettes and dry cleaners 
  • dental services, opticians, audiology services, chiropody services, chiropractors, osteopaths and other medical or health services, including services relating to mental health 
  • veterinary surgeons and pet shops 
  • agricultural supplies shops and agricultural markets 
  • storage and distribution facilities, including delivery drop off or collection points, where the facilities are in the premises of a business included in this list 
  • car parks 
  • public toilets 
  • livestock markets or auctions 
  • outdoor markets, and outdoor car lots 

Click and Collect

From Saturday 16 January click and collect can operate for essential and certain non-essential retail only. The non-essential retailers which can continue to operate click and collect services are:  

  • clothing and footwear stores  
  • homeware stores  
  • garden centre/plant nurseries  
  • baby equipment shops  
  • electrical shops (including repairs)  
  • key cutting and shoe repairs  
  • bookstores  

For these retailers listed above, who are otherwise closed to the public, they are able to offer a permitted collection services only where they meet the following legal requirements: 

  • They operate a staggered appointment system for collection with, where reasonably practicable, a gap between each appointment to separate customers from each other, and 
  • They limit access to the premises only to the extent, if any, that is required to offer the collection service.   Access to other areas of the closed store is not allowed.  

Online ordering for delivery from other closed retailers can continue. 

Close contact services such as hairdressing, barbers, beauticians, and mobile close contact service providers cannot operate.


  • Restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars will be closed.  
  • Takeaways can still operate, provided food and drink is sold for consumption off the premises.  From Saturday 16 January customers in Scotland will no longer be allowed to go inside to collect takeaway food or drink. Businesses will have to operate from a serving hatch or doorway.  

Life Events Including Weddings and Funerals 

  • Wedding ceremonies and civil partnership registrations can take place with a maximum capacity of 5 people (including the couple, the witnesses and the person conducting the ceremony, 6 if an interpreter is required), providing the venue’s capacity allows for 2 metre physical distancing.  
  • Funerals can take place with a maximum capacity of 20 guests providing the venue’s capacity allows for appropriate physical distancing.
  • Wedding or civil partnership receptions and post funeral gatherings such as wakes and cannot take place.

Leisure and entertainment 

  • All leisure and entertainment premises must be closed. 

Public buildings 

  • All public sector buildings such as libraries will be closed, however, library click and collect services may still operate in Level 4. 

Visitor attractions 

  • All indoor visitor attractions such as museums, galleries, heritage attractions, indoor areas of zoos and aquariums are closed. Outdoor visitor attractions, such as parks, gardens and the outdoor areas of zoos may remain open, to enable exercise and recreation to be undertaken with appropriate physical distancing in place but should only be visited in line with travel restrictions. Visitor attraction’s retail and hospitality facilities will be closed. 

Sports and exercise 

  • Outdoor gyms can remain open. Indoor gyms must close.
  • 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 Sport Scotland.

Tourism and accommodation 

  • All holiday accommodation is closed to tourism. Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering can remain open for essential customers only. 
  • Hotels and other accommodation providers can still serve food to qualifying guests i.e. key or exempt workers, staying in their premises up to 22:00. Room service, including alcohol, is allowed as normal. 

Other business 

  • Driving lessons, including motorcycle lessons, must not be held. 
  • People are advised to work from home wherever that is practicable. 
  • Businesses which provide essential services such as agriculture and food production, activity to maintain the food supply chain, energy and transport can continue to operate. 
  • Outdoor workplaces, construction, manufacturing, veterinary services and film and TV production can also remain open. They should plan for the minimum number of people needed on site to operate safely and effectively. 

Trades people and home repairs 

From January 16 home visits by contractors must only be for essential services. Tradespeople must only go into a house in a level 4 area to carry out or deliver essential work or services, for example: 

  • to carry out utility (electricity, gas, water, telephone, broadband) safety checks, repairs, maintenance and installations 
  • to carry out repairs and maintenance that would otherwise threaten the household’s health and safety 
  • to deliver goods or shopping 
  • to deliver, install or repair key household furniture and appliances such as washing machines, fridges and cookers 
  • to support a home move, for example furniture removal. 

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.  

Visiting shops 

Whilst retailers will implement procedures to ensure the safety of customers and staff it is an individual’s responsibility to ensure they comply with the following guidance: do not visit any retail premises if you have tested positive or have developed any of the COVID-19 symptoms 

  • you must wear a face covering when you go into any retail premises including any indoor area of a shopping centre, unless exempt.  
  • you must follow direction signs, one-way systems and shop capacities if provided by a retail outlet 
  • maintain a 2-metre physical distance between people not in your household (or extended household) 
  • adults, unless accompanying by a vulnerable person or a child/children under 18, should shop alone, where possible.

In order to keep transmission rates as low as possible you are also advised to: 

  • avoid crowded shops. Try to avoid times when shops will be busy. If you do not think you can maintain social distancing in a shop, come back later. 
  • visit stores that are using infection control measures and use the available hand sanitiser 
  • try to avoid touching goods unless you intend to buy them 
  • be polite. Please ensure that you are considerate to retail staff and abide by their guidance and instructions including removing face covering if requested for proof of age. 
  • shop local and do not travel further than necessary to visit stores 
  • be patient – shopping may take longer than you may be used to and you may need to queue for longer as a result. Please do not smoke when queuing outside shops. 
  • only use public transport for essential shopping where it is not possible in your local council area – you should use on-line shopping or shops, banks and other services in your local area wherever you can.  

Mandatory face coverings 

A face-covering can be any covering of the mouth and nose that is made of cloth or other textiles and through which you can breathe. 
Religious face-coverings that cover the mouth and the nose count as face coverings for these purposes. 

A face visor on its own is no longer considered to be a face-covering and so if one is worn, a face covering (as above) must also be worn.


  • A face covering must be worn by all people using a shop, which is any indoor establishment that offers goods or services for sale or hire when the shop is open. 
  • It is strongly recommended that staff wear face coverings even when 2m physical distancing is applied. However, there is an exemption for staff where 2m physical distancing or Perspex screens are in place. 
  • Face coverings are mandatory in indoor hospitality venues for staff and customers when not eating and drinking (eg when entering a venue). 


A face covering must be worn by all passengers and staff or operators in the following settings:

  • taxi and private hire vehicles
  • bus stations, railway stations (including open-air stations) and airports
  • ferry services (unless the ferry is open to the elements and physical distancing can be achieved, or the vessel is large enough that physical distancing can be achieved)
  • airline services

Other public places 

Face coverings must be worn in: 

  • aquariums, indoor zoos or visitor farms, and any other indoor tourist, heritage or cultural site,  
  • banks, building societies, credit unions and post offices, 
  • cinemas, 
  • community centres, 
  • crematoriums and funeral directors' premises, 
  • libraries and public reading rooms, museums and galleries, 
  • places of worship, 
  • storage and distribution facilities, including collection and drop off points. 
  • from Friday 16 October rules on face coverings in work canteens will be brought into line with restaurants and cafes - everyone will have to wear a face covering when not seated at a table - for example if they are queueing or are entering or leaving the canteen or going to the bathroom.
  • from Monday 19 October face coverings will have to be worn in other communal workplace areas like corridors.  

Face covering exemptions 

Some people are not required to wear a face covering.

These include:

  • children under 5 years of age
  • police constables or workers such as paramedics acting in the course of their duty 
  • staff such as drivers or checkout assistants who are physically separated, by means of, for example, screens, from passengers or customers
  • shop workers if they maintain a 2-metre distance from customers or members of the public

You may also have a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering if, for example:

  • you have a health condition or you are disabled and a face covering would be inappropriate because it would cause difficulty, pain, or severe distress or anxiety or because you cannot apply a covering and wear it correctly, safely, and consistently. Individual discretion should be applied in considering the use of face coverings for other children including, for example, children with breathing difficulties and disabled children who would struggle to wear a face covering
  • you need to eat or drink
  • you are taking medication
  • you are communicating with someone else who relies on lip reading
  • a relevant person, such as a police officer, asks you to remove your face covering

The collection of customer and visitor details 

You will be asked to provide your name and contact telephone number. Details will also be taken of the time and date of your arrival. These details will be kept for 21 days. This is to ensure that the Test and Protect system can function as effectively as possible.

Details will be requested if you are visiting any of the following:

  • Facilities provided by local authorities, such as libraries, leisure centres and registration offices
  • Cremation authorities, burial authorities, places of worship or funeral director service rooms offering funeral services

You will not be requested to provide contact details for take-away services.

What are the physical distancing requirements that businesses are required to put in place?  

All businesses, services and places of worship must take measures to ensure, where reasonably practicable:

  • The required distance is maintained between any persons on the premises (except for members of the same household or persons and their carers or between school pupils under 12 years old)
  • They only admit people in sufficiently small numbers to make the required distance possible
  • The required distance in any queue to enter the premises is maintained

The required distance

For some premises known as ‘reduced distance premises’, it is at least 1m whilst for all other premises, it is 2m. 

And reduced distance premises are:

  • Passenger transport service premises (bus stations, train stations, etc);

Remember that some people, for example, those with sight loss, autism, learning disabilities, dementia or other communication or mobility needs might find physical distancing rules more difficult to follow than others. Please be considerate by giving way when you’re out and about. 

Premises used for retail sale or hire of goods (shops) must ensure 2 metre physical distancing and reintroduce the mitigations they had in place earlier in the pandemic.

How do I find out more about the regulations?  

If you have any questions regarding the new regulations you can contact the Protective Services team via our online form.

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

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