Pub and restaurant rules Scotland: guidelines for visiting hospitality venues in tier 1, 2 and 3 areas - including Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen

As 11 local authorities across Scotland move down from tier 4 to tier 3, the rules for cafes, restaurants and pubs in those areas will change

Cafes, pubs and restaurants face various restrictions and regulations

The First Minister announced on Tuesday (8 December) that 11 local authority areas in Scotland currently under tier 4 lockdown rules will move to tier 3.

However, the government has decided not to move Edinburgh to tier 2 due to the potential of increased Christmas shopping and a small rise in cases.

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Across Scotland, restaurants and cafes are required to exercise safety measures and there are restrictions on alcohol sales and households meeting on premises, depending on which tier they fall into.

Changes to tiers will come into effect from 6pm on Friday, 11 December – although non-essential retail will be allowed to reopen from 6am that day.

Can hospitality venues open?

No local authority in Scotland will be under level 4 restrictions from 11 December, and so hospitality venues can open in all areas while exercising varying levels of restricted services.

In level 1, pubs, restaurants and cafes can open and can sell alcohol indoors and outdoors, however they must close at 10.30pm, with last entry at 9.30pm.

Hospitality venues subject to level 2 restrictions, can open and serve alcohol with a meal indoors but must close their indoor service by 8pm, with last entry at 7pm.

Pubs, cafes and restaurants in tier 2 can continue to sell alcohol outdoors until 9.30pm, and doors must be closed by 10.30pm.

Pubs and restaurants affected by tier 3 regulations are allowed to open for the sale of food and non alcoholic drinks, with last entry at 5pm. Venues can remain open until 6pm. In addition, pubs can offer takeaway alcoholic drinks in tier 3 areas.

There are some exceptions for hotel restaurants, which are permitted to serve food to customers who are residing at the hotel until 10pm in all areas.

Venues hosting a wedding or other similar party can serve alcohol to those attending the event, until 10pm.

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How many people can meet in hospitality venues?

In every local authority, six people can meet in hospitality venues from a maximum of two households.

Children under 12 are not included in the number of people and if one household has more than six people, they will still all be allowed to dine out together.

All children must still only be from two households.

Weddings, funerals, christening celebrations and wakes can be attended by 20 people, including the bride, groom, witnesses and guests.

Guests from different households are expected to keep two metres apart.

What to expect when dining

Customers in cafes, pubs and restaurants will be expected to remain at least one metre away from other groups.

Two-metre distancing must continue in queues outside of venues and face covering must be worn when waiting outside and moving around inside any premises.

Bookings should be taken where possible and table service is not being enforced.

Increased hygiene measures, including the use of hand sanitiser, should also be practised by hospitality employees.

In Scotland people are being asked to avoid visiting several places on one day, especially going between several bars or pubs.

Track and trace will continue to operate, with venues asking for names, addresses and contact details of households and the number of guests they are dining with.

This information will be held for 21 days to allow those who come into contact with others who have tested positive for coronavirus to be tracked and tested.

What about takeaways?

In tiers 1, 2 and 3, Takeaways can continue as normal, with many restaurants that previously did not offer this service now utilising it as a way of continuing to serve customers.

Face covering and physical distancing must be adhered to, with deliveries also allowed to continue.

All venues will be expected to fully close at 10.30pm, according to the Scottish Government website.

What tier am I in?

While some areas have remained in their original tier, set in November, others will be moving down a level on Friday 11 December.

This is what tier each area will be in from 6pm on 11 December. No local authority will be in level 0 or 4:

Level 1



Orkney Islands

Shetland Islands

Na h-Eileanan Siar

Dumfries & Galloway

Scottish Borders

Level 2

Aberdeen City


Argyll & Bute

East Lothian




Level 3

North Ayrshire


City of Edinburgh

Dundee City


Perth and Kinross


Glasgow City


East Renfrewshire

West Dunbartonshire

East Dunbartonshire

North Lanarkshire

South Lanarkshire

South Ayrshire

East Ayrshire

West Lothian