A new year, a new lockdown for Scotland. Here’s a rundown of what’s happening and some tips for keeping your finances in order during this challenging time.
What are Scotland’s new lockdown rules?
Most of Scotland (mainland Scotland and Skye) is already in a level 4 lockdown. The difference now is that there’s a very clear message: you shouldn’t leave home unless it’s for an essential purpose. Here’s a summary of the key rules now:
- Schools are closed except for vulnerable children or children of key workers who can’t work from home.
- Everyone should work from home unless it’s impossible.
- Anyone in the ‘shielding’ category should stay home.
- There’s a change to the rule of six. Now, a maximum of two people from two households can meet outside. Children aged 11 and under don’t count towards this total, though.
- Up to five people can attend a wedding or civil partnership, and up to 20 can attend a funeral. Receptions and wakes are prohibited.
In the meantime, hospitality is still restricted to takeaway only during Scotland’s lockdown, and gyms, hairdressers and salons remain closed.
When can I leave the house?
Okay, so that’s what you can’t do, but when can you go outside? Well, you need a ‘reasonable excuse’ to do so. Acceptable reasons include:
- Travelling to work if you can’t work from home
- Essential shopping
- Outdoor exercise
- Donating blood
- Caring for a vulnerable person
- Moving house
- Medical or veterinary care
- Fulfilling a legal obligation (e.g. attending court)
While there’s no restriction on how many times you can go out, you should limit your journeys as much as possible to help stop the spread.
When does lockdown in Scotland begin?
Lockdown begins at midnight on Monday 4 January 2021. The restrictions will run until at least 1 February – it all depends on the pressure on the NHS.
What we do know is that the restrictions will still be reviewed every two weeks, so the next review will be on 18 January 2021.
What does the lockdown in Scotland mean for me?
Worried about Scotland’s new lockdown rules and how they’ll affect you? Well, remember that you’re not alone – it’s a hugely challenging time for everyone. Here are some tips for getting through the next few weeks.
Make a budget
Write down a list of your income and expenditure and be strict about what you can spend each week. Chances are that if you’re staying home more often, you can save money somewhere.
Set some goals
Don’t let lockdown in Scotland hold you back from setting life goals! Outline what you want to achieve this year and think about ways you’ll make it happen. For example, you could learn how to start a small business, or how to flip items for a profit.
Remember: lockdown won’t last forever, but you can make the most of the downtime by working on yourself.
Open a savings account
If you have some spare cash now that you’re staying home more, why not put your money into a savings account? Look for an account with a high interest rate and you could even make some money in the long term.
So, if you’re keen to start saving – even if it’s just to build an emergency fund – now’s a great time to get going.
Avoid new debt
It’s probably best to avoid new debt right now unless you’re sure you’re financially stable or you need to make a large purchase. Focus on paying down your existing credit card and loan debt, and get financial advice if you’re struggling.
Scotland’s new lockdown is very similar to the March shutdown, and it’s likely to last beyond January. However, just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you can’t make progress.
The real takeaway? Try to focus on what you can control, and look for as many positives as you can find.
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