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Economic recovery and how to return to work safely

As we ease out of lockdown, look towards getting back to work and how the economy can recover post COVID-19, the Scottish Government and partner organisations are publishing guidance on the steps we all need to take. 

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Scottish Government guidance 

Updated 28 April: The COVID-19 guidance for creating and maintaining safer workplaces Guidance on safer working during the coronavirus pandemic for businesses and organisations not covered by sectoral guidance, for example general offices. Updated on 28 April to reflect the latest situation. Sectoral guidance can be found lower down this page. 

Updated 26 April: Coronavirus (COVID-19) protection levels: what you can do Coronavirus restrictions remain in place. Here is a reminder of the rules on what you can and cannot do. From 26 April, cafés, pubs and restaurants can reopen, along with tourist accommodation. Non-essential retail outlets and close contact services such as beauty salons can also reopen, in addition to indoor attractions and public buildings such as galleries, museums and libraries. The remaining travel restrictions within Scotland will be lifted and travel within the UK will be permitted for any purpose. It is expected that all of Scotland will move to Level 2 on Monday 17 May.

New 26 April: Check In Scotland launched - A new digital service to support businesses in collecting contact details for contact tracing purposes, Check in Scotland, is now available in participating venues. The Check in Scotland service will enable people to quickly and securely provide their contact details by scanning the official Test & Protect Check in Scotland QR code poster via their smartphone camera or by downloading the Check in Scotland app. The Check In Scotland app is available to download for free via the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

21 April: Scottish Government - Reopening Assets With workplaces and services resuming, employers are asked to ensure safety information is clearly highlighted. Keeping employees and customers informed is key to ensuring the workplace is a safe place to be.

The Scottish Government have created assets for you to display within your premises and digitally through websites or social media which you can freely download for use from DropBox

A new Scottish Government Advice Card highlighting key ventilation practice within the workplace is also now available as a downloadable PDF. Keeping the workplace well ventilated is vital to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep employees, customers and local communities safe. 

Updated 16 April: COVID-19 local protection levels have been updated with the easing of restrictions being accelerated. From Friday 16 April six people from six households can meet outdoors and travel within Scotland for outdoor socialising, recreation and exercise will be allowed. Find out what else you can and can not do. 

Updated 15 April: Advice for people on the shielding list on returning to work, college or university from 26th April has been updated.  

Updated 08 April: COVID-19 international travel and managed isolation has been updated. Quarantine rules and information on the process for people entering Scotland.

Updated 02 April: COVID-19 guidance on travel and transport has been updated. This is guidance on travel rules and restrictions and protection levels, including information on essential travel.

Updated 23 March: COVID-19 Strategic Framework update. The Scottish Government's Strategic Framework sets out how they plan to restore, in a phased way, greater normality to our everyday lives.

Published 20 November: The Scottish Government has published a series of maps showing boundaries for each of Scotland's 32 local authority areas to help people identify local protection levels and the areas they apply.

Download the Protect Scotland contact tracing app

The Protect Scotland app from NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect is a free, mobile phone app designed to help us protect each other and reduce the spread of coronavirus.

The app will alert you if you have been in close contact with another app user who tests positive for coronavirus. And if you test positive, it can help in determining contacts that you may have otherwise missed while keeping your information private and anonymous.

Download the app to stay safe, protect others and save lives. 

Guidance for businesses on returning to work safely  

The UK and Scottish Government continue to publish updated guidance on the steps you need to take and what will help you resume business within the current limitations. 

Updates are published on FindBusinessSupport.gov.scot daily so keep an eye on that site and if you sign-up for the email updates, you'll be notified of all available support and guidance as it's issued. 

We've highlighted some of the key guidance below by Government and other partners which may help you manage your next steps. 

COVID-19 sector guidance 

Working towards economic recovery

Published 24 September 2020 

£24bn infrastructure plan will boost jobs

Tens of thousands of jobs will be supported by the Scottish Government’s new £24 billion Draft Infrastructure Investment Plan (IIP).

Covering the five years from 2021-22 to 2025-26, the Plan will help stimulate Scotland’s green economic recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Find out more on Gov.Scot

Chancellor outlines Winter Economy Plan

Published 24 September 2020

Rishi Sunak unveils government’s plan to protect jobs and support businesses over the coming months. The Chancellor announced a package of measures that will continue to protect jobs and help businesses through the uncertain months ahead as we continue to tackle the spread of the virus.

Read more on Gov.uk

Protecting Scotland, Renewing Scotland - programme for Government 2020-21

Published 01 September 2020

The Scottish Government has published its Programme for Government setting out its actions for 'Protecting Scotland, Renewing Scotland'. Key actions set out in the programme include: 

  • Launching a proximity tracing app, Protect Scotland, later this month to enhance and support our Test and Protect programme
  • Introduce a National Transition Training Fund to provide support to 10,000 people facing redundancy and unemployment
  • Introduce the Scottish Youth Guarantee to ensure every young person has the opportunity of work, education, or training
  • Set out the first tranche of its £2 billion Low Carbon Fund, including: helping to secure investment of £1.6 billion over the next Parliament in heat and energy efficiency in our homes and buildings, delivering a £100 million Green Jobs Fund, and providing £60 million for industrial decarbonisation
  • Put in place an Inward Investment Plan to create 100,000 high value jobs over the next decade and boost GDP
  • Establish an Independent Review of adult social care
  • Expand digital access to health care to ensure more people can get the treatment they need
  • Improve access to community based health services through the launch of Pharmacy First, accelerating the rollout of our Community Treatment and Assessment Centres, and of our COVID-19 hubs
  • Open applications for its new Scottish Child Payment in November 2020, with the first payments made in February 2021
  • Complete the delivery of 50,000 affordable homes as quickly as it is safe to do so, and set out a 20 year vision for energy efficient, zero carbon housing, with access to outdoor space, transport links, digital connectivity and community services
  • Deliver a revolution in children’s rights by incorporating the UNCRC into Scots law by the end of this parliament
  • Lock in the positive changes in active travel by committing £500 million for transformational infrastructure
  • Bring 50,000 people into the digital world through Connecting Scotland and create a world-class Digital Eco-system in Scotland
  • Provide £135 million additional investment to ensure young people catch-up on any lost education due to COVID-19. This will include funding to recruit 1400 additional teachers and 200 support staff. 

You can see the full Programme on the Scottish Government's website

Independent Advisory Group report - working towards economic recovery

Published 22 June 2020

The independent Advisory Group on Economic Recovery has published its report: Towards a Robust, Resilient Wellbeing Economy for Scotland

Download the report

The Advisory Group on Economic Recovery was set up in April 2020 by the Scottish Government to provide expert advise on supporting Scotland’s economy to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

The report has 25 recommendations identifying interventions to support Scotland’s economic recovery and facilitate the transition towards a greener, fairer and more inclusive economy with wellbeing at its heart.

The remit of the group, set by the Economy Secretary, was that it should advise on the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • measures to support different sectoral and regional challenges the economy will face in recovery
  • how business practice will change as a result of COVID-19, including opportunities to operate differently, and how government policy can help the transition towards a greener, net-zero and wellbeing economy.

HIE Chair, Alistair Dodds commented on the report:

“It’s clear that the Highlands and Islands, and other rural areas, can play a central role in delivering Scotland’s economic recovery.

“Its emphasis on regionally-driven development, underpinned by effective co-ordination between public bodies, aligns completely with our direction of travel as an agency.

“Many of the recommendations also highlight the significant potential of our islands and the rural mainland, particularly when that is supported by investment in digital infrastructure including high-speed broadband and mobile technology.

“Sectors including tourism, food and drink, and creative industries that are particularly strong in the Highlands and Islands are highlighted as having national significance.

“The region’s potential to play a leading role in developing the green economy is another aspect that we are committed to developing.

“The report also clearly understands the vital role of the third sector and communities in delivering recovery, which is very encouraging.

“Highlands and Islands Enterprise is pleased to welcome this report and look forward to adopting its recommendations in our own forward planning and actions.”

Download the report