Can you travel to Scotland from England? What are the latest travel restrictions in Scotland and when does lockdown ease?
As lockdown eases, you’re probably wondering if you can visit friends and family on the other side of the border.
The travel ban in Scotland is being eased on Friday (16 April), meaning Scots can travel wherever they like within the nation (but overnight stays out of council areas are not permitted).
This comes after months of coronavirus lockdown, where people were told not to leave their local area.
But can Scots travel to England yet? And can people travel from England to Scotland?
What are the current rules?
Under Scottish law currently, you must not travel between Scotland and England unless you have a reasonable excuse.
That also goes for travelling to the rest of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
So that means no venturing south of the border to visit one of the pubs or restaurants which opened in England this week.
What counts as a reasonable excuse?
The Scottish Government states you can only travel between England and Scotland currently for essential reasons.
There are a number of reasons outlined on the government’s website, including:
- Travel for work
- Moving home (this includes viewing a property)
- For childcare or parental support services
- Providing care, assistance, support to or respite for a vulnerable person
- Attending a marriage ceremony or civil partnership – but only if you are the person getting married, a witness, or the person conducting the ceremony
- Funerals or compassionate reasons which relate to the end of a person’s life
- Attending court
- For those competing in sports, travelling to an event
- Visiting a person in prison or another state of detention
Why is travel between England and Scotland not allowed?
Travel across the Scottish border was stopped in December 2020, when Scotland entered its second lockdown.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a strengthening of travel restrictions after an ‘exponential’ rise in Covid-19 cases, due to the emergence of a new strain of the virus.
At the time she said: “If we don’t act firmly and decisively now to stop it, it will take hold here.”
A recent study found half of new Covid-19 strains responsible for Scotland’s second wave came from south of the border.
Are police patrols in place and what is the fine?
Back in December, Police Scotland said patrols along the border would be doubling during the travel ban.
Coronavirus police powers in Scotland mean people over 16 can be fined £60 for the first offence, lowered to £30 if paid within 28 days.
For the second offence police can fine a person £120, which then doubles for each further offence up to a maximum of £960.
When will the travel ban be lifted?
The good news is, these rules will be lifted very soon.
The date in everyone’s diary is 26 April – when nonessential shops, pubs, restaurants, gyms, and more will be allowed to open again.
It comes as Scotland gets set to return to the levels system, with the mainland going into level three restrictions on 26 April.
Well, that fateful Monday is also the day when people from England and Wales can visit Scotland, and vice versa.
The First Minister has now confirmed restrictions across the border will be lifted from that week.
When asked why she left it two weeks to allow cross-border travel, Nicola Sturgeon said: “Because for that two-week period, we have that difference in levels of restriction, particularly around hospitality, for example.
"We don't think it is yet safe for us to open up hospitality, because of the school reopening that is underway, because of some of the other changes.
"We think we need that extra couple of weeks, so we don't want people travelling across the border, going to pubs, and potentially bringing the virus back.”
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