The Scottish government is considering whether to introduce tougher restrictions while furlough funding is available during the English lockdown, which starts this week.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the availability of more extensive support for workers would make it less damaging to introduce stricter measures.
She said the government had to decide whether to “step harder on the brakes” to drive infections down faster, potentially providing “breathing space” over Christmas.
Ms Sturgeon said current restrictions appeared to be working. However she added Scotland’s approach had been limited by its financial powers.
Currently, the more generous furlough scheme will only be available during the English lockdown.
Ms Sturgeon said she hoped the UK government would make furlough available to devolved nations when needed so Scotland could decide in a more timely fashion.
Without that assurance, she said Scotland may have to act quickly or risk missing the opportunities of furlough.