The move to put London and other areas into tier 2 means that ever larger areas of the country are living with lockdown restrictions. So how long are these restrictions likely to last? And what can and can’t you do under a tier 2 lockdown?
How long will tier 2 last?
When the nationwide lockdown was put in place back in March, the government set in law that restrictions would be reviewed every three weeks. However, with the tier system things are a little bit different.
Health secretary Matt Hancock stated in the Commons that areas under tier 2 restrictions will be reviewed every two weeks.
So expect tier 2 restrictions to be in place for at least the next two weeks. When reviewed, the alert level could be upgraded to ‘very high’, which would mean a move to tier 3 and tougher restrictions. Or it could be downgraded to medium, meaning a move to tier 1, which would see an easing of restrictions.
What are tier 2 restrictions?
Tier 2 means tougher restrictions than tier 1, but tier 2 areas are not in full lockdown or as restricted as tier 3 areas. The main difference is restrictions on socialising with other households. Here are the key takeaways if you are in an area which has now moved into tier 2:
- You cannot socialise with other households inside. This applies to homes and restaurants. The only exception to this is if they are in your support bubble.
- You are still able to meet other households outside. But you must adhere to the ‘rule of six’.
- Pubs, bars and restaurants will remain open, but they will have to observe a 10pm curfew.
- Gyms and leisure centres are allowed to operate with the ‘rule of six’ in place.
- You should try to make only essential journeys, and not travel too far out of your area.
How can I prepare my finances for lockdown?
The return to lockdown restrictions could see many households worry about their personal finances. If you are concerned, there are things that you can do to put yourself in the best financial position possible.
Pay off your debts
If you have any outstanding credit card debt, then focusing on paying that off is the best thing to do for your finances. Credit card debt can easily stack up, especially when you take compound interest into account. This debt is also one of the most expensive debts to have.
So if you have any spare disposable income, focusing on reducing your debt is a wise move. If you aren’t in a position to do that right away, then consider reducing the cost of your debt. Maybe look at a 0% balance transfer credit card. This will give you a set interest-free period in which to pay off your balance.
Explore a mortgage holiday
At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, many banks and building societies said they would consider giving customers a three-month mortgage payment holiday if their income had been affected by lockdown.
If you think you will struggle to make your mortgage payments as a result of the new restrictions, talk to your mortgage provider to see if they are able to offer a mortgage holiday.
Just bear in mind that your mortgage balance will remain the same during this time. And you will still be charged interest during the payment holiday period. But it could provide you with a small breather if you are worried about your finances.
Grow your savings pot
If you have an emergency cash fund already saved and are financially stable, maybe explore investing your money.
With savings interest rates being the lowest they have been for years, it is hard to get any decent type of return on your money at the moment. However, there is the potential to achieve higher growth on your savings pot if you take out a stocks and shares ISA or open a share dealing account.
Investments do carry more risk, but if you are not planning on using that cash in the medium term, you could find yourself making more significant gains than if you just put your money in an instant access savings account.
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