Tougher lockdown rules are being introduced in Scotland to help stop the spread of coronavirus, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced. Here’s the lowdown on the new rules and some tips on how to make the most of lockdown.
What’s the current situation in Scotland?
Most of Scotland (apart from a few islands) has been in full lockdown since 5 January, with a legal requirement for people to stay at home.
You cannot leave home except for essential reasons such as work, a medical appointment, to collect food and supplies and for exercise. Many non-essential shops and services are shut.
What are the new lockdown rules?
There are concerns that the current ‘stay at home’ message isn’t having the same impact as it did in previous lockdowns. So, the Scottish government is enforcing the following six changes to the current lockdown rules:
- Click and collect services are limited to retail services selling essential items like clothes, footwear, baby equipment, homeware and books.
- You can no longer go inside a restaurant to collect your takeaway food or beverages. They must be handed over through a serving hatch or doorway.
- It’s now illegal to drink outdoors in public in all level 4 areas (the whole of mainland Scotland).
- There’s now a legal obligation for everyone who can work from home to do so. If you were working from home during the first lockdown, you should do so again.
- Working in people’s homes is now legally limited to work that is essential to the upkeep, maintenance or functioning of the household.
- You must not leave or remain outside your home unless it is for an essential purpose.
When will the new lockdown rules come into force?
The additional rules will come into force on Saturday 16 January, if approved by the Scottish parliament.
They will remain in place at least until the end of January. However, Ms Sturgeon has not ruled out extending them alongside the existing lockdown rules, if necessary.
Making the most of Scotland’s lockdown
If you are in Scotland and are finding yourself with some extra downtime due to the stay at home orders, consider using it to dissect your personal finances and see whether you’re making the most of your money.
Here are a few useful ideas.
Check that your investments are in the right place
Perhaps you could grow your savings pot faster by investing it somewhere else. For example, with savings rates being the lowest they have ever been, there might be a greater potential for the growth of your money in a stocks and shares ISA. One of the biggest advantages of this type of account is that any gains you make will be tax free.
Overhaul your credit
Are you currently servicing several credit cards? Switching to a 0% balance transfer card could give you more time to pay off the debts without accruing extra interest charges.
Shop around for a better car insurance deal
If your car insurance is up for renewal soon, now could be the perfect time to shop around for a better deal. As much as you might think it’s easier to stick with your current provider, you could be paying more than you need to.
By comparing quotes from different providers, you can find the right car insurance policy for your needs and your budget.
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