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. 

Read more +

Guidance for businesses on returning to work safely  

As we ease out of lockdown, according to the Scottish Government's route map, many businesses have concerns of how they and their employers get back 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 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. 


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

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

Scotland's Route Map

Updated 14 Aug: A Route Map has been published setting out the Scottish Government's plans for easing Scotland's COVID-19 restrictions in four phases.

Scotland moved to Phase 3 of moving out of lockdown on 10 July, with changes being introduced in stages.

Find out what you can and cannot do  

Scotland's testing strategy 

Updated 17 Aug: The Scottish Government has published its updated Testing Strategy setting out the role testing continues to play in tackling COVID-19.

Scotland's testing strategy