COVID-19: Latest update from East Lothian Council

As the Scottish Government moves to the second phase of its route map aimed at restarting society while suppressing COVID-19, East Lothian Council is highlighting the importance of people continuing to stay local as much as possible.

Some key updates:

  • The key national message is: Stay safe, Protect others, Save lives
  • The Scottish Government has advised that people should continue to stay in their local area (broadly within five miles) as much as possible and should not travel further for leisure or recreation
  • While all of East Lothian’s coastal and countryside car parks are now open for local use, public toilets remain closed. This is in line with current governance advice that indoor facilities in outside spaces should remain closed
  • Our coastal and countryside car parks are intended for use by people requiring to drive short distances locally for leisure and recreation purposes.
  • As of Friday, 20 June parking charges will have been re-instated at all coastal car parks where they normally apply
  • Playgrounds remain closed however will re-open from 29 June

Fragile progress

Councillor Norman Hampshire, Depute Council Leader and Cabinet Spokesperson for the Environment, said:

“Progress in tackling COVID-19 is being made across Scotland. I’d like to thank the people of East Lothian for their support, patience and understanding throughout this period.

“It’s clear, however, that this progress remains fragile. The virus has taken its toll on far too many people and their families across the country. It continues to pose a significant risk and we must do everything we can to curb its spread.

Incremental steps

“We are supportive of the small, incremental steps being made in further easing the lockdown restrictions.

“Moving to phase two this week enables the country to move further forward in re-starting society balanced against the need for us to all be on our guard against the risk that remains.

"Continuing to follow the really important government and national health advice is essential in order to avoid a second wave of the virus and protect the NHS. 

Car parks and public toilets

“We recently opened some of our smaller coastal and inland countryside parking sites, providing residents, particularly those who are less mobile and may have difficulty accessing the countryside by foot or bike, with more access to the coast or countryside for leisure and exercise. 

“Following the First Minister’s announcement of a move to phase 2 public services will continue to resume and scale-up during this phase, continuing those set out in phase 1. With the full support of Police Scotland, our larger coastal car parks have also re-opened – which is something I know many East Lothian local residents will welcome – but I would continue to urge everyone to remain in their local area as much as possible for outdoor leisure and exercise.

“We have been taking a phased approach to re-opening and, given the instances of inappropriate parking on streets and roadsides observed during recent good weather, we believe it is appropriate for the larger car parks to now be open.

“In line with government advice, public toilets remain closed.

“We look forward to welcoming visitors from further afield to our coastal and countryside sites, and elsewhere in East Lothian, when it is safe to do so – you will receive a warm welcome. But at the moment we would ask that people do not travel for recreation from outwith their local area, as requested by the Scottish Government. This will help avoid unnecessary travel or larger gatherings and put unnecessary pressure on infrastructure, which is particularly important at a time when progress in tackling COVID-19 remains so fragile.”

With good weather expected in the days ahead, East Lothian Council will be monitoring access roads to our coastal car parks over the weekend. In respect of the car park at Gullane Bents and for the safety of our community in Gullane, we will over this weekend be putting in place ‘residents only’ access to nearby streets. This will enable us to keep roads clear and minimise inappropriate parking in the interests of public safety.


Phase 2 changes were announced by the First Minister on Thursday, 18 June. See the Scottish Government website for details.

Published: Friday, 19th June 2020