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 

Published 23 February: COVID-19 Strategic Framework update - February 2021. The Scottish Government's Strategic Framework sets out how they plan to restore, in a phased way, greater normality to our everyday lives.

Updated 23 February: Support for people on the shielding list If you were added to the shielding list before mid-February 2021, you should already have been contacted about your first vaccination appointment. If you were added to the shielding list after mid-February 2021, you'll be contacted soon by post or phone, if you have not already been.

Updated 11 February: COVID-19 guidance on travel and transport To minimise the risk of spreading the virus, the Government ask that we all stay at home as much as possible and avoid unnecessary travel. By law, in a Level 4 area, you can only leave your home (or garden) for an essential purpose. This guidance has been updated with current restrictions on travelling in Scotland, the UK and international travel. 

Updated 18 January: Travel corridors suspended - changes to travel restrictions From 04:00 18 January all country exemptions from self-isolation after international travel is suspended. Passengers travelling to Scotland from outside the Common Travel Area will be required to isolate for ten days on return. They must also have a valid negative COVID-19 test result, taken no more than three days before the scheduled time of departure.

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  

As we ease out of lockdown, according to the Scottish Government's route map (updated 01 October) 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. 


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.


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