By Kirstie Topp – Local Democracy Reporter
The leader of Aberdeenshire Council has said that he is “optimistic” for the year ahead despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
However, Councillor Andy Kille, who took over the role of leader in November, has warned residents not to drop their guard.
Last year was a difficult year for everyone but I’m optimistic for the year ahead.
Vaccinations are being rolled out but they are not with us completely yet. We should not drop our guard and concentrate on the basic FACTS health measures – face coverings, avoid crowded places, clean hands and surfaces, two-metre distancing and self-isolate.
Cllr Kille added that he is looking forward to “building back better” and said the council is currently working hard to “balance the books” as the pandemic has had an impact on the local authority’s financial position. An update on this is expected to come in spring at a meeting of Full Council.
Despite the council leader’s optimism, coronavirus cases in Aberdeenshire have been increasing in recent weeks.
The latest figures from Public Health Scotland show that between December 30 and January 5 there were 770 positive cases recorded in the region, an increase from 474 in the previous week.
Commenting on the situation Cllr Kille said
We had a relative stability in cases before Christmas but we have seen a significant rise from Christmas Day.
He added that the Level 4 lockdown for the region was a
very unfortunate situation but I completely understand and support the decision.
Any local businesses seeking business support grants at this time are being encouraged to apply to Aberdeenshire Council’s COVID-19 Strategic Framework Business Fund. More information can be found here on the council’s website or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aberdeenshire Council will continue to keep its household recycling centres open throughout the lockdown and maintain its kerbside collections.
School teaching will start again from Monday, January 11 but the majority of classes will be held online. This is expected to continue until at least Monday, February 1.
All care homes, very sheltered housing complexes and supported living accommodation are currently closed to visitors.
Play areas are still open but anyone using equipment is advised to avoid touching their mouth and face afterwards, use hand sanitiser and wash their hands as soon as they can.
Meanwhile, Live Life Aberdeenshire facilities including libraries, museums and sports facilities will be suspended until at least the end of January.