Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid has welcomed the Scottish Government announcement on the relaxation of lockdown restrictions in Scotland but has called for further details on support for sectors which will see restrictions to their businesses even after reopening.
The First Minister announced to the Scottish Parliament yesterday (Tuesday) that, assuming all goes well, the Stay at Home Order would be lifted from April 2.
From April 5, outdoor contact sport for 12–17-year-olds will resume, along with the return of some college students and the reopening of non-essential click and collect as well as extending the list of retail permitted to include garden centres, barbers, baby equipment shops and hardware stores.
From April 26, there will be further relaxations on outdoor socialising and travel restrictions, with retail, hospitality and tourist accommodation and leisure reopening as well as higher limits on wedding and funeral attendance.
From May 17, in-home socialising for up to four people from two households will be permitted, along with further reopening of hospitality, resumption of adult contact sports, cinemas, amusement facilities and small-scale events. Colleges and universities can resume blended models of learning, while face-to-face support services and outdoor non-professional performance arts can resume.
All these dates are subject to supply and roll-out of the Coronavirus vaccine across Scotland.
Scottish Conservative MP for Banff and Buchan David Duguid said
This latest announcement from the Scottish Government is overdue but does provide some much needed clarity on the route out of lockdown in Scotland.
The dates put forward for easing restrictions are dependent on the concurrent roll-out of the vaccine and on all of us continuing to stick by the rules.
However, many sectors of our economy will be frustrated by the restrictions being imposed even after they can reopen and are worried about the viability of their businesses and the jobs they support.
This SNP Government must for once put its money where its mouth is and let our businesses know what extra support is planned to keep firms afloat and jobs secure during the transition out of lockdown.
The UK Government has provided nearly £10 billion in extra funding to Holyrood during the pandemic and it is high time the SNP used it instead of sitting on their hands while businesses across Scotland face ruin.
Jobs across Banff and Buchan are at risk if the easing of restrictions and reopening of our economy takes too long and is not properly supported.
For our part, it is vital that we all continue to stick to the rules and stay safe so that we can support our local businesses safely and as soon as possible.