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The five-level lockdown system in Scotland explained

Sean LaPointe
·5-min read
Young woman with face mask using mobile phone and buying groceries in the supermarket during virus pandemic.
Young woman with face mask using mobile phone and buying groceries in the supermarket during virus pandemic.

A new week, a new set of rules to try and prevent the spread of coronavirus. That’s been the story so far throughout the pandemic. This time, Scotland has unveiled a new five-level system of lockdown measures designed to curb rising infection rates.

Here’s how this new system will work.

How have different parts of the UK handled the pandemic so far?

So far, the four nations have adopted quite different approaches to managing the coronavirus pandemic.

England has implemented a 3-tier system of lockdown restrictions, where different parts of the country have been split up into medium, high and very high local covid alert areas.

Northern Ireland is currently under a four-week circuit breaker lockdown, which aims to break the cycle of coronavirus transmissions. There are several rules here but the gist is that people should stay and work at home if possible. Bars, pubs and many non-essential shops have been forced to shut.

Wales has implemented its own two-week firebreak lockdown to curb transmissions.

Scotland, on the other hand, has so far pursued a ‘zero covid approach’, with stricter checks on international travel, a support system for those in isolation, and the devolution of power to local councils to monitor local outbreaks and enforce rules and regulations.

Unfortunately, even with these different approaches, we can’t say that any nation is fairing any better than the others in terms of reducing coronavirus cases. Rates continue to rise everywhere.

That’s perhaps the reason that rules keep changing so often.

How will Scotland’s new five-level lockdown system work?

Under Scotland’s new five-level lockdown system, every part of the country will be graded from a baseline, level 0, up to the highest, level 4.

The five different levels represent an advancing scale of lockdown restrictions.

What are the rules at each level of the lockdown in Scotland?

Level 0

  • Most businesses, including those in the hospitality industry, can continue to operate (though pubs and restaurants may have a curfew)

  • Schools remain open

  • Up to eight people from three different households can meet indoors

  • There’s a ban on travel to areas in levels 3 and 4 (and equivalent parts elsewhere in the UK)

  • Life events such as funerals and wedding can go on but with an attendance limit of 50 people

Level 1

  • Indoor meetings are limited to six people from two different households

  • Small indoor seated events are allowed, but outdoor standing events are banned

  • Schools remain open

  • Attendance at life events is reduced to a maximum of 20 people

  • People to work from home where possible

Level 2

  • No gatherings inside homes

  • No stadium gatherings and events

  • Venues such as theatres, funfairs and soft play areas shut

  • Cinemas and amusement arcades remain open

  • Pubs can continue serving customers indoors as long as they serve a main meal (between 6am and 6pm)

  • Schools remain open but with enhanced protections

Level 3

  • Ban on indoor and outdoor alcohol sales in hospitality venues. Customers can buy and eat food on the premises with potential time restrictions

  • Entertainment venues will shut

  • People should avoid using public transport and travelling out of level 3 areas unless for essential reasons

  • Services such as barbershops and saloons can open but may be subject to additional protective measures

  • Schools remain open but with enhanced protections

Level 4

  • All non-essential businesses must shut, including accommodation that’s not work-related

  • No use of public transport unless essential

  • Places of worship can remain open but congregations should not exceed 20 people

  • Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies are limited to five people – or six when there is an interpreter

  • Constructions and manufacturing works can continue

  • Schools remain open but with enhanced and targeted protective measures such as shielding children told to stay off school premises.

Can you get financial support?


Consumers – If you are affected by the coronavirus measures, you can use this government service to find out what support you can get and how to claim it.

Businesses – On top of the UK government’s Job Support Scheme, businesses forced to shut due to Scotland’s lockdown can also apply for a £2,000 or £3,000 grant every four weeks. Businesses that remain open but are unable to trade as normal because of lockdown restrictions, can apply for a grant of £1,400 or £2,100 every four weeks.

Coronavirus and your money

With everything that’s going on, it’s natural to be concerned about what the future holds in regard to your finances. Businesses are shutting down and people are losing jobs and yet, debts and bills still have to be paid.

Rather than panic, the best thing you can do right now is get your financial ducks in a row. Check out our coronavirus money guide for useful tips on how to prepare financially for whatever lies ahead.

The post The five-level lockdown system in Scotland explained appeared first on The Motley Fool UK.

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