From 2 April, if you are in a level 4 area, you no longer need to stay at home unless you have an allowed purpose for going out. Instead we must stay local – this means there are now no restrictions on travel within your local authority, but you mustn’t leave your local authority area except for an allowed reason.
The levels system has been introduced to make it easier for everyone to understand what protective measures are in place in their area. It also means that if your area is moving from one level to another, you’ll know what to expect.
What do the different levels mean?
Level 0 has the fewest restrictions – it is close to the place we were in last summer, with most businesses open and indoor socialising permitted. Level 4 has the strongest restrictions.
Who decides which level each area is in?
This decision is made by the Scottish Government, on the basis of advice from local Directors of Public Health and Public Health Scotland, through the National Incident Management Team, and the assessment of senior Government advisors, also taking into account factors such as general health and wellbeing, and how local businesses will be affected. The Scottish Government will also engage with local authority partners prior to making decisions.
Levels will be reviewed every week to see whether they should be maintained, increased, or reduced. However, areas are likely to move between levels less frequently than that. Once set, levels are likely to be in place for two to four weeks at least, to give time for the effect of the changes to show.
Why are we not allowed to get together in each other’s houses at the moment?
Everything we do that involves contact with other people is potentially risky, and could result in the virus being spread further. The less often we travel between levels and the less often we meet people, the less chance there is of the virus spreading. So it’s not about the rules being consistent across all areas of our lives, it’s really a trade-off: if we are all having less contact with others in our homes and indoors for non-essential purposes, there are fewer opportunities for the virus to spread, which means reducing the rate of infection, preventing deaths, relieving pressure on the NHS.
I’m finding life hard – where can I get help and support?
The coronavirus pandemic has been really tough for everyone, particularly parents. If you feel you’re struggling, there is support to help you cope with any difficulties you’re having. Our page on finding support has lots of information to help you, from financial support, ways to help you or your child’s mental health, to practical info on arranging childcare. Our family support directory brings together all the helpful organisations, benefits and information that support parents and carers, no matter what your situation or stage your child is at. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it.
I’ve been shielding, how does the levels system affect me?
At the beginning of the pandemic, people at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus were advised to shield, to minimise the chance of catching the virus. Shielding was paused from 1 August. However, the Scottish Government is advising people who were shielding to take extra precautions. You can find out more about this at the Scottish Government website.