Where are we now – Levels changing and travel restrictions become law

The First Minister gave a statement to Scottish Parliament on 17th November 2020. In summary, the decisions impact the central belt of Scotland in the main where hospitality and licensed premises will all be closed until 11th December 2020.  Overall, the FM said the level of infection is higher than the Scottish Government needs it to be and a number of local authorities are significantly above the national average.  These numbers are stabilising but some at a high level.  As such there are changes to the current levels, noted below.  Most notable many of the Councils in the central belt and Ayrshire are to move to level 4.  See below for details.


  • The UK furlough scheme will apply to Scottish businesses;
  • Closed businesses (the definition given is “business that require to close”) are eligible for a 4 weekly grant of £2,000 or £3,000 depending on their rateable value – eligible businesses should apply for these grants now through their local authorities;
  • Businesses which are open but subject to trading restrictions can claim grants of £1,400 or £2,100 depending on their rateable value – eligible businesses should apply for these grants now through their local authorities;
  • The Scottish Government is establishing £30 million discretionary fund to allow local authorities to provide additional support for businesses where they consider that necessary or justified, such as business in supply chains affected by the closures and taxi drivers suffering a severe but indirect effect by these closures and restrictions;
  • £15 million will be made available to newly self-employed people who have not been able to access other forms of support; and
  • 350 million to help with community and social impact of the move to level 4.


19 Council areas see no change. 2 Councils move down a level. 11 Councils move up to level 4.

Level 1:

  • Orkney, Shetland, Western Isles, Moray and Highland will remain in level 1. For now, people in Moray and the Highlands are being asked not to meet anyone indoors despite the general allowance in the level 1 Regulations.

Level 2:

  • Councils which will remain in level 2 are: Aberdeen City; Aberdeenshire; Argyll and Bute; Dumfries & Galloway; and Scottish Borders.
  • East Lothian and Midlothian will move down from level 3 to level 2 – as of Tuesday 24th November 2020

Level 3:

  • Councils which will remain in level 3 are: Angus; City of Edinburgh; Clackmannanshire; Dundee; Falkirk; Fife; Inverclyde; North Ayrshire; and Perth & Kinross.

Level 4:

  • 11 areas will move up from level 3 to level 4 for three weeks from Friday 20th November which restrictions will be lifted on 11th December 2020. These are: East Ayrshire; East Dunbartonshire; East Renfrewshire; Glasgow; North Lanarkshire; Renfrewshire; South Ayrshire; South Lanarkshire; Stirling; West Dunbartonshire; and West Lothian.

Comment and detail:

  • The dates and days on which announcements would be made and action taken have changed slightly. It was indicated changes would be announced on a Tuesday, debated in Parliament on the following Thursday, and would come into effect on the following Friday.
  • The move for East Lothian and Midlothian down from level 3 to level 2 takes effect from Tuesday 24th November 2020 if there are no changes to the downward trend in the number of people both diagnosed and admitted to hospital in those Council areas. This is a departure from the dates previously suggested seems to be to allow environmental health and compliance checks and work to ensure no increased transmission.

For more information on the allowances and restrictions in the different levels contact Jo Millar on 0141 370 8116 or jmillar@gilsongray.co.uk.

The information and opinions contained in this blog are for information only. They are not intended to constitute advice and should not be relied upon or considered as a replacement for advice. Before acting on any of the information contained in this blog, please seek specific advice from Gilson Gray.


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