Your questions answered

Questions and answers regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Short answers to questions you might have about the virus and its impact on your life.

A fact sheet for both businesses and individuals looking for support is attached to this page.

What can I do to help?

Follow the expert advice. Wash hands, and self-isolate when you get symptoms and social-distance now - this is vital and will save lives. Good hygiene, social distancing and self-isolation are critical in the fight to slow the risk of infections - both for yourself and importantly for others - particularly those over 70, those with underlying health conditions and those who are pregnant.

Where can I get the latest government information on coronavirus?

If you want access to all the latest government advice on coronavirus you'll find it here and here.

What can the police do if I don't follow the advice to stay at home?

If you do not comply the police may:

  • instruct people to go home, leave an area or disperse
  • ensure parents are taking necessary steps to stop their children breaking these rules
  • issue a fixed penalty notice of £60, which will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days
  • issue a fixed penalty notice of £120 for second-time offenders, doubling on each further repeat offence

Individuals who do not pay a fixed penalty notice under the regulations could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.

If an individual continues to refuse to comply, they will be acting unlawfully, and the police may arrest them where deemed proportionate and necessary.

When should I self-isolate?

  • If you have a high temperature or new, continuous cough
  • You must self-isolate for 7 days if you live alone
  • You must all self-isolate for 14 days if you live with others (if someone gets symptoms during isolation all householders must remain symptom-free for 7 days even if that means isolating for more than 14 days)

Self-isolation will save lives - it's important you follow the guidance if you're affected.- more information can be found here.

Why should you self-isolate?

  • Self-isolation is the safest way to stop spread of the infection.
  • People in the most vulnerable groups should consider self-isolating even if they don't have symptoms.
  • Self-isolation saves lives - and while 90% of people will recover from this virus - some will get seriously ill and some will die - it is these people we need to protect.

How should I look after myself when I self-isolate?

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink plenty of water (fluids)
  • Eat healthy food
  • To reduce pain and fever take paracetamol (if you use other mediation get in touch with your care provider)
  • Keep in contact with friends and family by phone, video and online

Can I volunteer?

Whether it's practical or emotional support, there are lots of ways you can volunteer to help. ReadyScotland provide more information on volunteering here.

Can I get a refund on my train ticket?

For information from Scotrail regarding ticket refunds click here. For other service providers, please contact the organisation from which you purchased your ticket for details.

Can I claim sick pay?

Will my employer be obliged to pay me while I stay at home? 

Statutory Sick Pay will be paid from day 1 instead of day 4 for those affected by the virus.

What if I have a 'zero hours' contract?

You may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay. Check with your employer in the first instance and if you're not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay, you may be able to apply for Universal Credit  or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) 

What if I’m self-employed?

You can apply for Universal Credit   - where self-employed people can access full statutory sick pay equivalent.

What if the whole family has to stay at home so we have no income?

If no one is getting Statutory Sick Pay, the family can apply for Universal Credit   -  the Government have changed certain rules governing this benefit during the coronavirus period.

I'm worried about paying my tax - is there any help?

Yes - there are 2000 staff supporting a COVID-19 dedicated helpline  for businesses and self-employed being run by HMRC Monday-Friday 8 am-8 pm, Saturday 8 am-4 pm - 0800 0159 559 who will discuss possible remedies such as:

  • agreeing on an instalment arrangement
  • suspending debt collection proceedings
  • cancelling penalties and interest

Self-assessment tax payments are deferred until January 2021.

How much can I put on a contactless bank card?

To help manage through the coronavirus the limit has been increased to £45.00 from April the 1st.

What can I do about getting an MOT?

Car, motorcycle and van owners will be granted a 6-month exemption from MOT testing from 30 March 2020. This will allow people to carry on with essential travel. During this period vehicles must still be kept in a roadworthy condition.

Can I still shop online and is it safe?

Yes. Online sites, postal and delivery services will run as usual to ensure people can access essential goods. You won't have to sign for goods and they should be delivered to your home leaving a safe distance.

Most major supermarkets have now prioritised online deliveries for the elderly and medically vulnerable. You can check the supermarket's website for more information.

If you must shop in person, be careful. 

It is very unlikely that you can catch coronavirus (COVID-19) from food. Cooking thoroughly will kill the virus. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness. It is not known to be transmitted by exposure to food or food packaging. Everyone should wash their hands regularly with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, to reduce the risk of illness. It is especially important to wash hands before handling food or eating.

The Government has published guidance for consumers on Coronavirus and food here .

Can I take my pet to the vet?

Vets are open but practices have been asked to provide emergency services only and face-to-face contact should be limited. So only use the vet for urgent or emergency medical care.

Should I use hand sanitiser gel or soap and water?

You should wash your hands with soap and water for at last 20 seconds regularly but particularly when you return home. If you're out and about and cannot get access to soap and water cleaning your hands thoroughly with hand sanitiser gel can be effective against the virus.

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