Beyond level 0 - a simple guide for Scottish businesses

Blogs 6 Aug 2021

FSB Scotland explains the points that small businesses need to know following the move beyond level 0 on Monday 9 August.

As of August 9th, Scotland has now left behind the levels system and move into the next stage of recovery from the pandemic. The previous regulations and guidance will be replaced, meaning fewer specific legal rules for daily life. But some requirements will remain for businesses, while a lot of measures will move from a legal requirement to being good practice. While the Scottish Government’s guidance is still being finalised (and we’ll update links accordingly) here is our quick-read guide to the remaining rules. 

1. Covid is still with us, so businesses will still need to think about how they minimise risk 

While there will be far fewer legal requirements, pre-Covid health and safety legislation still applies and businesses will still have to have ‘due regard’ to the newly updated Scottish Covid Safer Workplaces guidance. This means many businesses will want to continue with measures that help to minimise the risk of transmission of Covid to staff and customers.  

Risk assessments (and communicating with staff about this, especially if going back into the office for the first time in a while) will still be key to determining what is required in your business. The Scottish Government guidance provides lots of helpful information on measures businesses can take but the key areas of action they’ll encourage include: 

  • Steps to minimise crowding in certain areas of premises (such as table service or staggering break times). 

  • Maximising fresh air and good ventilation into premises (there is a specific requirement related to ventilation for early years childcare settings). 

  • Good hand hygiene for staff and customers and regular surface / “touch point” cleaning  

  • Staff working from home for part of the time (‘hybrid’ working), where this is possible and appropriate. 

As some measures will no longer be legal requirements but may still be appropriate for your business, FSB has tools to help your customers respect your ‘house rules’. 

2. Face Coverings are still required indoors 

The law on having to wear face coverings in most indoor settings (including workplaces) will remain the same, subject to some minor tweaks, such as allowing removal on the dancefloor in nightclubs/weddings.  

3. You’ll still have to comply with Test and Protect 

This means businesses currently collecting customer contact information must keep doing it. Also, people will still have to follow the instructions of the T&P team, such as getting tested and self-isolating if you’ve symptoms, or are identified as a close contact. It’s important to keep following the rules regarding testing and self-isolating (though self-isolation won’t be necessary for those who have been double vaccinated and have a negative PCR test). 

4. There won’t be any legal requirement for physical distancing or capacity limits 

Your premises will no longer have to keep people 1m apart, through keeping tables apart or limiting the number of people that can enter premises or attend an event. The only exception to this (other than pre-existing licensing conditions) is for larger events (indoor – 2000+ people/outdoor – 5000+ people) where the current system of seeking permission from the council will remain in place. Vaccine certification will be required in certain larger event settings.

5. We still need to be prepared for outbreaks 

Lastly, while we hope the worst has well and truly passed, it’s still possible that in the event of future outbreaks, the rules may change or that local restrictions may be introduced. So it’s worthwhile keeping a plan in place so you know what to do if your business is affected by an outbreak.  

Remember, FSB members can call our legal helpline (0808 20 20 888) for any advice on implementing the new rules.   

We’ll keep you posted on any further changes but in the meantime, you can also take look at our new hub of resources to get your business #RecoveryReady