Scotland’s extended household rule: Scottish Government guidance on staying over with family and forming a social bubble

Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed dates for the lifting of restrictions in phase 2 and phase 3 of Scotland’s lockdown route map

Scotland is slowly easing itself out of lockdown, entering phase two on June 18 (Getty Images)
Scotland is slowly easing itself out of lockdown, entering phase two on June 18 (Getty Images)

Nicola Sturgeon announced dates for the lifting of restrictions in phase two and that Scottish families could form extended households last month.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions on 24 June, Ms Sturgeon said there was a “clear” and “positive” trend in the latest coronavirus figures, which mean it is now safer to ease restrictions.

Here’s what you need to know.

What’s the extended household rule?

From Friday 19 June, people living in Scotland have been able to join with one other household to form an “extended household”.

The new measure was announced by Nicola Sturgeon on 18 June as she revealed that Scotland would be moving into phase two of its coronavirus-induced lockdown strategy.

The First Minister broke down how the new extended household rule would work.

She said from June 19 anyone who lives on their own, or only with children under 18, would be able to form an “extended household group” with one other household.

Those who are part of an extended household can meet indoors without physical distancing and stay overnight.

Ms Sturgeon urged caution, however, advising those who form extended households “must continue to see any other households outdoors only, and stay more than 2 metres apart from them.”

The aim of the new rule, according to the government website, is to “allow people who live alone (or those living only with children under the age of 18) to be considered part of another household in order to reduce loneliness, isolation and to provide mutual social support.”

Will the extended household rule change?

Ms Sturgeon announced that from 10 July, there could be an expansion of the extended household model.

Who’s eligible to join an extended household?

Only people who live alone (or who live only with children under 18 years old) can form an extended household with another household.

How many extended households can I form?

Just one, a person should not form an extended household with more than one other household.

Can I end an extended household arrangement and start a new one with another household?

You can end an extended household arrangement whenever you wish, but current rules stipulate that you mustn’t then form an extended household with a new household.

All the adults living in both households should agree to form the extended household.

What should I do if someone in my extended household develops Covid-19 symptoms?

All members of the extended household should isolate immediately. The person with symptoms should get tested, and if they test positive for COVID-19, all members of the extended household would need to isolate for 14 days from the start of symptoms.

Can the elderly join an extended household?

People who are shielding should not form part of an extended household at this time.

Those at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus (including people over 70, people who are pregnant and people with an underlying medical condition) may join with another household but should strictly follow the handwashing, surface cleaning and respiratory hygiene guidance on the NHS Inform website.

Can I exercise with a member of my extended household?


Members of an extended household are considered to be one household in relation to the other legal requirements on meeting and going outside, and for the guidance in this document about seeing friends and family and about exercise and leisure activity.

What if I can’t join an extended household?

For those who are not able to form an extended household, there could still be some weeks to wait before meeting with other households inside.

The First Minister said that the rules could be updated again to allow households to meet more people outdoors from July 10.

People will also be able to meet indoors with others from more than two households.