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Coronavirus - meeting people

This advice applies to Scotland

Scotland is in phase three of the government's route map for relaxing the lockdown rules. We'll update our advice to help you understand any changes when they apply to you.

The police have powers to enforce these rules, including breaking up large gatherings or fining people.

If you’re in an area with a local lockdown

You might need to follow stricter rules if more people test positive for coronavirus in your local area. This is called a local lockdown.

From 5 August there’s a local lockdown in the Aberdeen City council area. Check the Scottish government's local advice for information about restrictions on meeting others.

Meeting other households

You can meet people from:

  • two other households indoors - up to a maximum of eight people
  • four other households outdoors - up to a maximum of 15 people.

Different households should stay two metres apart whether you’re meeting inside or outside. Couples who don’t live together don’t have to stay two metres apart from each other.

You should only meet people from up to four other households a day. You can meet them at the same time or at different times on the same day. It doesn’t have to be the same households each time.  

If you go inside someone else’s house, you should wash your hands and clean any surfaces that you touch. You can stay overnight as long as different households stay two metres apart.

Some of the rules for meeting others are different for children and young people.

If you're 11 or under

You should follow the rules about meeting other households. But there’s no limit on the number of households you can meet a day. You don’t have to stay two metres away from other people.

If you're 12 to 17

You should follow the rules about meeting other households. But there’s no limit on the number of households you can meet a day. You should stay two metres away from people who aren’t in your household.

Check the Young Scot website for information for young people.

If you've been shielding 

The Scottish government has paused shielding from 1 August. This means that if you’ve been shielding, you can follow the same guidance for meeting people as others in Scotland from 1 August.

If you’ve been shielding, you can find support on the Scottish government website.

Forming an extended household group 

If you live alone or with children under 18, you can join one other household. This is called forming an extended household group. Or it might be called a 'social bubble' or 'support bubble'.

If you’re in a relationship but don’t live with your partner, you can form an extended household with them.

You can only be in one extended household group, and you can’t change the household you’re in a group with. You should think carefully before you decide to form an extended household group.

You can treat people in your extended household group as part of your household. For example, you: 

  • can meet inside each other’s homes 
  • can stay overnight, have meals together and watch each other’s children
  • don’t need to stay two metres apart.

If you have coronavirus symptoms, you should book a test and all members of the group should self-isolate. If the test result is positive everyone in the group should self-isolate for 14 days from the last day they had contact with you.

If you share childcare between different houses

If you live in a different home from your child’s other parent, you can continue to share childcare. The government has said children under 18 can move between their parents’ homes. 

It’s important to think about your child’s health, how they feel about moving between households and whether there are vulnerable members of either household.

If there’s a court order or formal agreement in place, you should try to stick to those arrangements. If you decide it’s best to change the agreement, you can do this. Write down any change you agree, for example in a note, email or text.

If you have an informal arrangement, you should discuss what to do with your child’s other parent.

It might not be safe to maintain in-person contact if one household has symptoms and all the members of the household need to self-isolate. You could use phone or video call instead.

Read more about coronavirus and your family on Parent Club.

Sharing childcare and forming an extended household group 

If you’re a single parent and you don’t live with other adults, you can form an extended household group with one other household.

You and your child’s other parent can each form an extended household group separately. Your child can be part of both extended household groups as long as they’re under 18.

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