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Should we be travelling to Scotland right now?

My wife and I have a trip planned to Scotland in a week (walking West Highland Way + time in Glasgow and Inverness). Anyways, we are really struggling with whether we should go or cancel. Covid is exploding in Scotland right now. We are fully vaccinated, thus, not that worried about ourselves. We are aware that there are currently no lockdowns. Generally speaking--are the Scots wanting visitors right now? We don't want to be a burden. Any insights would be greatly appreciated.

Posted by
5517 posts

I doubt there is any one answer to this question and that there will be multiple conflicting opinions.

In my mind, you have met the first requirement to go. You are aware of yourself and your possible impact on others. That is half the battle in this pandemic. The activities you are describing, such as walking the West Highland Way, are not high risk activities. You will be outdoors and not in big crowds. I'm confident you will mask and use social distancing where needed and continue thinking , "how am I impacting others?" as you travel.

Posted by
7263 posts

Generally speaking--are the Scots wanting visitors right now? We don't want to be a burden

Have any of your hotels in Scotland canceled all your reservations and given you your money back?

Posted by
903 posts

I think your concern applies to almost every country right now. We just went to Costa Rica and had similar concerns. Would we be welcomed?

We are also fully vaccinated. We respected the country’s rules and wore masks indoors everywhere. Don’t be an “ugly American” by not wearing your mask just because you’re vaccinated. We pretty much wore our masks in towns, pulled them up when passing people on the streets, pulled them down when no one was around. Much of what we did was outdoors, as much of your trip will be. But you won’t have to deal with heat!

We were welcomed everywhere. Scotland has some of the friendliest people in the world, so I’m guessing your experience will be similar. Just be extra vigilant about respecting whatever local rules are in place - mask requirements, curfews, etc. Be prepared to make reservations for restaurants if needed. And be extra nice to everyone you encounter. Travel is very much a privilege, especially now.

Bring lots of patience, especially while in transit. Know all the hoops you need to jump through for entry into Scotland. We actually ran into Americans in Costa Rica who didn’t know they needed a health screening code to enter the country and were very upset that the airline didn’t inform them. As if the airlines can keep track!

Posted by
5648 posts

Do you have reservations for some places and activities, and can you contact them and ask whether they want you to cancel, for any reason? Can they give you assurances whether you'll be burdensome, and how much? If they don't want you to come in a week, this is their opportunity to tell you, "No thank you."

Any location that hasn't specifically prohibited visitors (and lots of places have) has implicitly put up the "Welcome" sign. Your being vaccinated should make you much more welcome than if you weren't.

Posted by
5706 posts

Covid numbers have shot through the roof in Scotland since the schools returned. English schools return this week and next, so we can guess what may happen. Numbers are either going to be allowed to rocket or some form of restrictions will have to be reintroduced. Scotland has cracked down earlier and harder than England on Covid.

Being vaccinated doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be worried about yourselves - just look at the infection numbers. Most of the people I know that have recently tested positive are double vaccinated. We are double vaccinated. The vaccination protection seems to be waning.

We are currently on holiday in our caravan in Wales, so we are self sufficient as there is no toilet block on site and we have our own transport. Covid infections here have also increased around coastal towns. We are very cautious and don’t eat inside in cafes and spend our days walking the coastal path, so avoiding people. We wear masks in supermarkets, where we shop as infrequently as possible and half an hour before they close at 9.30 pm. We consider that we are of low risk to the local population.

Please don’t take this personally, but if I met Americans here on holiday at present, I would avoid you as you pose a high risk. Some may not be so sensitive.

The U.K. has seen a boom in accommodation prices as locals are taking staycations, so Scotland doesn’t need extra visitors at present.

I appreciate that people want to travel - me too! It’s a difficult call.

Posted by
629 posts

I live on Skye and have been across to Inverness recently. While cases are increasing across the UK, including in Scotland, the main difference between Scotland and other parts of the UK would appear to be the attitude towards mask wearing and social distancing. Here in Scotland we are still required to wear masks indoors in public places and social distancing still applies. Compliance is good from what I have seen. I run a small B&B and guests from England seem surprised that mask wearing and social distancing is still adhered to here in Scotland and required in settings such as cafes/restaurants and public areas of hotels and B&Bs. My guests have told me that in London for example things seem nearly back to normal (whatever normal is these days).

So I guess this is a roundabout way of saying that if you mask up, respect social distancing, and use hand sanitiser wherever possible, you will be welcomed as responsible visitors.

However, the weather forecast for next week isn't looking great!

Best wishes
Jacqui (Skyegirl)

Posted by
629 posts

Mask restrictions are still in place indoors and on public transport. Compliance is very high. I feel much safer here in Scotland than I did on a recent brief foray south in to England.

Posted by
4718 posts

Have these mask restrictions ever eased in Scotland when numbers were down?

No, they've remained constant. One may ask if Scotland's mask rules are tighter than England and Wales why are their infection rates higher? One answer could be due to the school holidays being earlier in Scotland the infections spread by schoolchildren will be at a higher level than other parts in the UK. Another answer may be that masks aren't particularly effective, there are a myriad of studies that offer different opinions on efficacy so it's impossible to know.

Posted by
21307 posts

It tends to be colder in Scotland than England's average, so maybe people started doing more things indoors earlier in Scotland?

Posted by
102 posts

"One may ask if Scotland's mask rules are tighter than England and Wales why are their infection rates higher?"

No they are not!

COVID infection rates at this time in Scotland are LOWER than in England and Wales, as is shown in all the official statistical sources from the Scottish and UK governments and the ONS. Here for instance is the latest ONS report:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronaviruscovid19infectionsurveypilot/19november2021

Scotland: 1 in 95
England: 1 in 65
Wales: 1 in 55

Please check your facts before posting.

Posted by
91 posts

Digger - wondering if you made the trip to Scotland in September 2021 and if you encountered any issues with regard to Covid restrictions.
Especially interested in hearing about your experience(s) with the 2-day PCR or Lateral Flow Test, assuming of course that was required in September 2021.
Thank you.

Posted by
91 posts

Thank you so much for responding. Hard to keep up with all the changes/updates.
Kind regards...