The Scottish Federation of Organists

Coronavirus COVID-19

The information on the various tiers is now so complicated that we advise all readers to consult the Scottish Government postcode checker on for definitive information.

At the commencement of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis in early 2020 all the Scottish organists' societies affiliated to the SFO cancelled all face-to-face meetings.

No face-to-face regular or committee/council/trustee meetings are taking place at present.  Both the Edinburgh Society of Organists and the Glasgow Society of Organists are planning on-line meetings during 2020-21 and the Glasgow Society has been structuring a syllabus that would allow meetings to be re-configured into face-to-face meetings should the COVID-19 situation allow.  This hope seems unlikely.

Comunal services of prayer and contemplation in churches in Levels 0, 1, 2 and 3 are allowed but limited to 50 people with social distancing, no singing or chanting, and a mandatory COVID-19 risk assessment plus strict health and safety precautions.  In Level 4 such services are permitted with the number restricted to 20.

Attendances at weddings, funerals and civil partnership ceremonies are limited to a total of 20 people in Levels 1, 2 and 3.  In Level O 50 people are allowed and in Level 4 only 5 people may attend a wedding.  Receptions are not permitted.  In level 4 20 people may attend a funeral.

Subject to strict health and safety controls, some singing and wind and brass playing is allowed provided safeguards are in place.  This activity should only be carried out in line with the Scottish Government performing arts guidance.  An individual may sing or chant indoors behind a plexi-glass screen without the need for a face covering to be worn.  The screen used should be cleaned regularly and extended physical distancing should be considered.  Other instruments that do not require breath to operate may be played (for example, church organs). Communal instruments should be cleaned regularly.


    [Professor Jason Leach, National Clinical Director for Scotland, has said that the idea of a normal Christmas in Scotland is a "fiction" and Scots should prepare for digital celebrations.  He said that there is "absolutely no question" of a "normal" Christmas being allowed.  First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that 'Christmas is not going to be normal'.  Prof Leach has said it is "honestly too early to say" what will happen at Christmas but he has sounded a note of caution over the prospect of measures being eased significantly over the winter.  "We are not going to be in large family groupings with multiple families coming round - that is fiction for this year."]


    Note that with effect from 6.00 a.m. on Monday 2nd November the defined areas of regulations were changed from Health Board Areas to Local Auhtority Areas.  From that time the Scottish Government's radically new five-tier system of alert levels that allows restrictions to be imposed locally or nationally came into legal force.

   For definitive information on your present tier go to the postcode checker on

    The initial tiers were legally enforced from Monday 2nd November and are reviewed each Tuesday by the Scottish Parliament. At present the tiers are:

Level 4

East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, City of Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire and West Lothian.

Level 3:

North AyrshireInverclyde, City of Edinburgh, Clackmannanshire, Falkirk, City of Dundee, Angus, Fife, Midlothian and Perth & Kinross.

Level 2:

Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Argyll & Bute, Scottish Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, East Lothian.

Level 1:

Highland, Moray, Orkney, Shetland and Western Isles.

Level 0:

No local authority is currently is at this stage


Note that before planning, agreeing to, or attending any event the following Scottish Government charts must be consulted to asscertain the legality  and advisability of such an attendance depending on your own location and the location of the event.

Page updated 24th November 2020
The information on the various tiers previously displayed here has been removed as the situation is now so complicated that we advise all readers to consult the Scottish Government postcode checker on for definitive information.