Guidance for businesses

Scottish Government guidance for shops, hospitality venues and other businesses - this took effect from 00:01am on Friday 17 December 2021.

Further measures will come into force on 26 December for events and 27 December for hospitality settings.

Safer businesses and workplaces guidance

Tourism and hospitality guidance

Economic Development

Our Economic Development team and Business Gateway Advisers continue to provide as much support as possible and can be contacted at

Business rates relief

Read about the Covid 19 - retail, hospitality and leisure business rates relief.

Risk assessment

You must complete a suitable and detailed risk assessment of covid-19 for your business. This risk assessment should detail the business controls you put in place to protect both employees and the public. You can download a blank risk assessment template from this webpage. Customers and staff will need to be confident in your covid-19 control measures.

Download a risk assessment template

Guidance for completing a risk assessment

Health and Safety Executive: Latest information and advice 

Health and Safety Executive: Managing risks and risk assessment at work

Business operation

If you are planning to reopen your business you should complete the relevant checklist - which covers key points to consider including physical distancing.

Test and Protect

The Scottish Government has produced supporting guidance on collection of Customer & Visitor Details for businesses and other establishments, where the nature of the premises means there may be an increased risk of transmission of COVID-19 due to higher degree of interaction between unknown individuals. To help you reopen your business with confidence, businesses can sign up free to VisitSafe, an online tool to record all your customer visits.

Contact Environmental Health and Trading Standards for advice at:


Coronavirus has led to a rapid increase in scams aimed at consumers and at at business. Businesses should stay vigilant - especially when incorporating new ways of working like working from home:

Town centre space

The Space Team are responsible for Town Centre space outside your premises - pavements, access, parking, etc. As shops and businesses re-open, social distancing guidelines mean extra space is needed on our high streets to accommodate walking and waiting. Businesses are encouraged to operate appointment systems to minimise the number of people congregating at their premises. Where this is not viable, and you anticipate queues, you must discuss arrangements with East Lothian Council. We need to work together to ensure everyone is accommodated as far as possible.  This includes people living and working in town centres who need access to their properties, and people waiting for buses and taxis, as well as customers of shops.

We may be able to:

  • cordon off parking spaces to provide room for queuing
  • create space in the carriageway for people passing on foot or on bikes
  • provide approved signage for use in shop windows 

Email with any queries or requests to alter public space.

Businesses requiring space for tables and chairs should apply by completing this application form and submit by email to  Applications will be reviewed on a case by case basis depending on the location, its restrictions and the demand in the area.  

Business waste

Read more about our waste and recycling services for businesses


Download: guidance for current licence holders and anyone planning to apply for a new licence. This explains the changes we are making to our licensing services to help minimise the disruption caused to licence holders by coronavirus.