The current Covid-19 outbreak has led to a huge amount of people getting in touch with me to ask questions about this. I will endeavour to continue to answer these as quickly as I can, however, below is some general advice that may answer your query. Please check these links regularly as information changes and updates quickly. 

General Guidance 

At the moment Scotland is using a tier system to determine which restrictions apply in each area. You can check which level your area is in and what this means here. As things stand, all areas of Scotland will go into Level 0 on 19th July. Thereafter it's planned that the vast majority of remaining restrictions will be lifted on 9th August. 

This is all contingent on the good progress of the vaccination programme, so it's important that vaccination uptake is as high as possible. You can read more about the vaccines and the vaccination programme here.

If you've not been contacted for your vaccine you can self-refer yourself for one here. Health boards are also running a number of drop-in clinics where you can be vaccinated without an appointment, please see here for more details.

 

If you want to obtain proof of your vaccination or view your vaccine record you can do so here

Daily updates on Covid rates, vaccination uptake and other data are available here.

The Scottish Government's Test and Protect app can let you know (anonymously and privately) if you've came into contact with someone with Coronavirus - please visit www.protect.scot to find out more.

Face coverings are now mandatory in a number of settings to minimise the risk of you carrying the virus to others. You can read more about this here, however if you are unable to wear a face covering, you can (although you don't have to) request an exemption card here if you'd like something that shows this. 

The latest health advice is available from NHS Inform here. If you develop any coronavirus symptoms (temperature, cough or loss of taste or smell), however mild, you should stay at home and arrange to be tested here. You, and anyone you live with or are in an extended household with, should remain at home until you get the result of the test, and then follow the advice you will be given based on the result.

Further information on current restrictions and ​guidance is available at www.gov.scot

 

Information on local services, including advice on schools, social care and refuse collection is available through your local council, either Scottish Borders Council or Midlothian Council.

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Workplaces and Businesses

The Scottish Government is supporting affected businesses through its Strategic Framework Business Fund. Further guidance for businesses, particularly on other sources of financial support available, can be found at www.findbusinesssupport.gov.scot. You can also contact your local Business Gateway for free, impartial support and advice on your business as well as a number of free online classes and seminars.

Students

SAAS advice for students is available here. Your college or university will operate a hardship grant scheme which you may want to consider applying for if you're struggling - contact them directly to discuss how to access this.

Concerns with Paying Bills 

Many people may be concerned about their ability to pay their bills as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. Landlords, lenders and utility companies are expected to be flexible during these exceptional times and if you are worried you may be unable to pay a bill contact the company which issued it as soon as possible to discuss this and see if it can reduce or change your payment plan.  

 

​Citizens Advice Scotland can offer free, impartial advice on any issues you might be experiencing and have a number of online resources that may be useful. 

Tenants concerned about their ability to pay rent should contact their landlord as soon as possible to discuss. No one should lose their home as a result of Covid-19 and the Scottish Government have suspended evictions as a result of rental arrears in light of this for both private and social tenants. You can get free advice on housing issues through Shelter Scotland.

For urgent, unplanned issues you can also apply for a crisis grant or a community care grant though your local council - more details on this are available here.

Additional Wellbeing Support

The Scottish Government has set up a free hotline for vulnerable people living alone with no family or local support. The helpline will put them in touch with the local authority who can help with things like food or medication needs and you can reach it on 0800 111 4000

The current situation around COVID-19, including concerns around social distancing, is an understandable cause of anxiety and distress for many people, please do not be afraid to ask for help if you need it. The Scottish Government has provided additional funding for mental health services in light of this - as a first port of call visit www.breathingspace.scot or phone your GP to discuss your concerns.