There’s another coronavirus lockdown on the way, and this time, it’s in Scotland. Over 2.3 million people will soon be under Scotland’s level 4 lockdown rules, but what do the changes mean? And who is affected? Here’s everything you need to know.
What is level 4?
Scotland’s level 4 looks pretty much like the spring lockdown, with one major exception: schools and nurseries are still open. It’s also easier to see a dentist and visit your GP than it was back in March.
So, if you’re in level 4, here’s what it all means:
- All hospitality venues, including pubs and restaurants, are closed. It’s still okay to get a takeaway, though.
- Indoor gyms and other leisure venues are also shut. Outdoor gyms are fine.
- Non-essential shops and close-contact services like hairdressers and beauty salons are closed.
- It’s still okay to visit essential shops like supermarkets and the Post Office.
- You should work from home where possible.
- Don’t travel outside your local area.
- You shouldn’t go out unless it’s for essentials such as food or medicine.
And, like the spring lockdown, there’s no household mixing indoors (other than support bubbles). It’s okay to meet one other household outside, as long as you stick to the ‘rule of six’.
Where do Scotland’s level 4 restrictions apply?
The restrictions currently affect 11 local authorities:
- West Lothian
- Glasgow City
- East Ayrshire
- South Ayrshire
- East Renfrewshire
- North Lanarkshire
- South Lanarkshire
- East Dunbartonshire
- West Dunbartonshire
There’s still a chance that the Scottish Government will extend level 4 restrictions to more parts of the country, but right now, the changes are mainly confined to the ‘central belt’.
When do the restrictions end?
Scotland’s level 4 lockdown ends on 11 December 2020. As for what will happen after that, we don’t know just yet. Chances are that some areas will move back to level 3, while others might stay at level 4 for a bit longer. It all depends on how effective the lockdown is.
What’s happening elsewhere in Scotland?
The picture’s a little different in other parts of the country. Let’s break it down.
If you’re in Orkney, the Western Isles or the Shetlands, life’s a bit closer to normal. Pubs and restaurants are open until 10.30pm, and eight people from two households can meet indoors.
In level 2, you can’t meet people inside the home, but it’s okay to visit the gym, cinema or amusement arcade. You can be served an alcoholic drink with a meal indoors until 8pm, and outdoors until 10.30pm.
Areas including Aberdeenshire and the Borders are in level 2, with Midlothian and East Lothian joining them from 24 November.
Until the level 4 rollout, most Scottish towns and cities fell under level 3 restrictions:
- You can’t visit someone else’s house.
- Most entertainment venues are closed.
- It’s okay to use the gym, but you should exercise alone.
- You shouldn’t travel outside your local authority area.
- Non-essential shops can remain open.
The toughest rules apply to hospitality: cafes and restaurants must close at 6pm, and they can’t serve alcohol.
Right now, level 3 applies to areas including Edinburgh City, Falkirk, Dundee, Fife, and Inverclyde.
What does lockdown mean for my finances?
Worried about how Scotland’s level 4 lockdown affects your money? You’re not alone. With Christmas just a few weeks away, and many businesses forced to close again, it’s undoubtedly a stressful time. But to help you get through the lockdown, here are some top tips:
- Don’t take on more debt unless you kn ow you can afford it.
- Sure, Black Friday deals are tempting, but be sensible and don’t buy anything you don’t need!
- Consider opening a savings account to begin building an emergency fund.
- Set yourself a budget. Is there anything you can save money on now we’re in lockdown again? Could you pay off credit cards or other debt with the extra cash?
- Check out ways to make money online – you might find a fun little side hustle.
Lockdown is tough, yes, but there’s good news – it won’t last forever. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re struggling to pay your bills, and talk about how you’re feeling. Reach out for mental health support if you need it, and check out your support entitlements if you’re unemployed or losing money.
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