The new guidance for lockdown 2.0 - January 2021

It wasn't quite the New Year news we were hoping for, with a spike in covid cases caused by a faster spreading mutation of the virus, restrictions have increased to provide more time to ramp up the vaccination programme

Part of these restrictions include the reclosure of gyms and indoor climbing centres in most of mainland Scotland (Except Orkney you lucky lot!). Lockdown 1.0 came at a time when the outdoor climbing season was just blossoming, with lockdown 2.0 arriving during mid-winter there may not be as big a demand for outdoor climbing. However, we thought we would put together some recommendations for any hardy climbers wanting to fondle some rock during the winter months.

Full details of guidance for hill walking and climbing during COVID-19, can be found here.

Mountaineering Scotland has welcomed the specific reference to local outdoor recreation as one of the reasonable excuses for leaving home, meaning hill and mountain activities can continue, albeit within certain limits.

Travel restrictions allow movement within your local authority area and up to 5 miles beyond the boundary as long as your exercise starts and ends in the same place, but we are being encouraged to travel no further than is needed to reach to a safe, non-crowded place to exercise.

The new guidance limiting the number of people from separate households who are able to meet outdoors means club and group activity is not possible at this time.

Voluntary mountain rescue teams across Scotland are facing additional challenges in dealing with winter rescues as a result of Covid -19, we are emphasising the need to stay well within your limits and suggest that now is not the time to be planning your next big adventure and to use your best judgement to manage the risks to help ensure you keep yourselves and others safe.

What are the headlines?

The key points to consider are:

  • You should not leave your home or travel outside your local authority area unless for an essential reason, and should avoid any unnecessary travel.
  • There are exemptions for sport, exercise and outdoor recreation allowing travel within and up to 5 miles from the boundary your local authority area as long as you start and finish at the same place, and abide by the rules on meeting other households (see below). The Scottish Government recommend that you travel no further than you need to reach to a safe, non-crowded place to exercise in a socially distanced way.
  • Household rules now apply to all outdoor recreation and physical activity in level 4 areas (including organised club/group activities), allowing a maximum of 2 people from 2 separate households to meet outdoors for sport or exercise, with 2m physical distancing maintained at all times. Children under 12 do not count towards households or numbers when meeting outside.
  • The members of an individual household or extended household can meet outdoors for sport or exercise.
  • Indoor facilities are to remain closed at Level 4 (includes climbing walls, outdoor centres, huts, bothies).
Please note: public health advice and guidance for Scotland may differ from that of England and Wales.

General advice

Public health advice for Scotland

To keep yourself and other safe you should:

  • Wear a face covering
  • Avoid crowded places
  • Clean hands and surfaces regularly
  • Stay 2m away from other people
  • Self-isolate and book a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms (new continuous cough, fever or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste)

Local protection measures are now in place in Scotland - find out more on the Scottish Government website.

Please note that advice from the Scottish Government may differ from that for England and Wales.

Outdoor access during COVID-19

The current guidance in relation to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code for COVID-19 is:

  • Maintain your distance – please stay at least 2 metres away from other people and if possible, try to avoid busy times on popular paths or places.
  • Respect the health and safety of farmers and others working the land – please follow all reasonable requests and signs to avoid particular areas, such as farmyards, fields with pregnant or young livestock, and other busy working areas.
  • Keep your dog under control – please put them on a lead or keep them close at heel and do not let them approach other people or livestock.
  • Avoid contact – try to avoid touching surfaces and if possible, plan a route that does not require you to open gates.

For full details read the Scottish Outdoor Access Code for COVID-19 here.

ClimbScotland events

All Mountaineering Scotland and ClimbScotland events are under review for 2021.

More information on this can be found here.

Official advice

Advice from the Scottish Government can be found here.

For UK-wide information about Coronavirus, visit the Gov.uk website.

Advice on social distancing can be found here.

The Government has also published an action plan.

The Scottish Government statement on 'lockdown' can be read here.

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