England’s ‘lockdown 2’ restrictions are a few days old, and everyone’s back to staying indoors as much as possible. But is the new lockdown the same as the spring quarantine, or is it more flexible? Well, it’s the same in principle, but there are some substantial differences.
So, to help you make sense of the new rules, here’s a breakdown of how lockdown 2 compares to the March shutdown, and what it means for your money.
What’s the same this time around?
- You should work from home unless it’s impossible to do so.
- You can’t see people from other households indoors (unless they’re part of your support bubble).
- Bars, restaurants and other hospitality are closed.
- Non-essential stores and beauty services have shut their doors once again.
- Supermarkets and other essential businesses like banks and Post Offices are still open.
- Leisure and entertainment facilities, like gyms and cinemas, are also closed.
- You can leave home if there’s a medical reason or it’s essential (e.g. to buy food).
- The furlough scheme is back at 80% again.
Some of these measures were already in force in tier 3 areas, like Liverpool, before the national lockdown.
What’s different about lockdown 2?
Okay, so the message is largely the same: stay at home. However, there are key differences between the March shutdown and lockdown 2. Here’s what you can still do this time around that you couldn’t do in the spring.
- Learners can still go to school, college or university.
- Your young children can access education as nurseries are still open, too.
- You can exercise outdoors as often as you like and parks and playgrounds are open.
- What’s more, it’s okay to exercise outside with one person from another household – this wasn’t allowed back in March.
- It’s fine to go to a place of worship for private prayer.
- Professional sports can go ahead behind closed doors, so you can still watch football on the TV.
- You can get takeaway food from restaurants – you couldn’t do this in the spring.
One other thing: although there’s no formal ‘shielding’ for vulnerable people this time around, it’s still a good idea to stay home where possible if you are clinically vulnerable.
When does the lockdown end?
As it stands, lockdown 2 expires on Wednesday 2 December 2020. It’s possible that the UK government will opt to extend the lockdown, but right now, that’s not what’s on the table.
What’s more likely is that we’ll move straight back into the ‘tier’ system, which means some areas will be under tighter restrictions than others, depending on infection levels.
The best thing to do is keep an eye on your local news for updates.
How does lockdown 2 affect my finances?
Now we’re in lockdown again, you’re probably wondering how the restrictions affect your personal finances. If you’re worried about how to keep your bank balance healthy during the quarantine, here are some tips to help you stay on track.
- Use your free time to declutter your house and sell unwanted goods on the internet.
- Look for ways to make money online – this is a great way to keep busy if you’re furloughed.
- Think about opening a savings account and putting a little away each week.
- Set yourself a weekly budget for essentials like food shopping.
- If you’re worried about job security, refresh your CV and sign up to a recruitment agency.
- You might be entitled to some benefits, so give Citizens Advice a call to discuss your options.
- Working from home? Check out working from home allowance benefits.
Lockdown 2 is tough on everyone, but just remember this – you got through it once, so you can do it again.
Set yourself achievable goals, whether it’s prioritising your mental health, saving money, or paying down debt, and focus on what you can control.
And, one final thing: lenders want to help you stay afloat during the crisis. If you’re struggling to pay your debts, contact them as soon as possible to set up payment plans.
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