Further Covid Restrictions over Christmas

I thought it might be useful to provide update on the changes in the Coronavirus restrictions for us here in Edinburgh.

The two most significant changes are that special festive  guidance is now limited to Christmas Day and all of mainland Scotland will enter level 4 for 3 weeks on Boxing Day (26th December) but you can full details here: https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/.

The only exceptions will be Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles, and the other island communities where restrictions have been reduced in recent weeks, who will be placed in Level 3.

I appreciate that these changes will cause massive disappointment and disruption to so many people who have already endured so much.

It seems so long since we were able to relax and enjoy the company of our friends and family safely.

I hope that we will all be able to use these new rules to protect ourselves and our loved ones as we have already this year but if you have any concerns or questions please feel free to contact my office either at this email address or 0131 285 5972.

I wish you all the best for the festive season and next year.

Stay safe


Festive Period 

The Scottish Government festive period changes are:

  • The easing of restrictions around Christmas will be limited to Christmas Day itself, and not the previously planned 5 day window
  • Household limits will still apply - a maximum of 8 people from 3 households - however advice is to minimise the numbers and, where possible, celebrate the festive period at home and meet with others outdoors
  • Except for specific exemptions, travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK will not be legal
  • travel within Scotland will be allowed on Christmas Day
  • from Boxing Day, all of mainland Scotland will have Level 4 restrictions applied, including the closure of non-essential retail and hospitality.
  • from Boxing Day, in line with existing law, travel across local authority boundaries between areas in Level 3 or 4 will not be legal other than for specific exempt purposes

The reduction of the relaxation period to Christmas day will be enshrined in law, which should allow travel/accommodation cancellation and refund. If you need any guidance or support, please don’t hesitate to contact my office at [email protected].

Boxing Day - Level 4

From Boxing Day, Saturday 26th December, all of mainland Scotland will enter level 4 and the following rules will apply:


  • For most pupils the holiday period will be extended until 11 January and learning will begin online from then until at least 18 January.
  • Teachers will return to work as planned on the original term dates
  • Children of key workers and the most vulnerable children will return to schools as planned.

For university and college students, please contact your place of study for their individual plans. 


  • All hospitality and non-essential retail to close. Hospitality can function on a take-away basis only.
  • Working from home now mandatory unless you are a key worker- outdoor workplaces, construction and manufacturing can continue.
  • All close contact services – e.g. hairdressers to close.
  • Socialising – you can meet 6 people from 2 households outdoors.
  • All leisure and entertainment venues to close.
  • Travel out of the region only permitted for essential purposes. NHS Lothian covers City of Edinburgh, West Lothian, Midlothian and East Lothian.
  • Public transport to only be used for essential purposes only.
  • No Driving lessons.
  • Gyms will close and outdoor sports will be restricted to non-contact games. However, professional sports are allowed to continue.
  • Places of worship continue but restricted to 20.
  • Shielding- follow guidance supplied to you through the shielding list and from your clinician

There are, however, exemptions for particular needs including, childcare , caring arrangements, and support bubbles.

  • Extended households can continue and are different from Christmas Bubble rules. If you are in an extended household- where one household joins up with someone living alone or a single parent- that continues. Travel between each home is still allowed, even if one of those homes is in England, and overnights stays are allowed.
  • Shared parenting arrangements are not affected by any level of contact and maintaining these arrangements are exempt from any travel restrictions.
  • Informal childcare (e.g. grandparents) is allowed in Level 4, but only where absolutely essential, e.g. children of key workers.

The full guidance from the Scottish Government can be read here https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/.

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