By Democrat reporter
West Dunbartonshire Council chief executive Joyce White, pictured right, has thrown her considerable weight behind the Scottish Government plea for people to pay attention to the updated local restrictions which prevent them from socialising with other households within their homes.
Ms White has sent a memo to the Council’s 6,000 employees to let them know that the restrictions are to continue in West Dunbartonshire and to ask for help to stop the virus spreading further.
She wrote: “The Covid-19 rate has risen significantly in the past week, in fact it has more than doubled, and we currently have the highest number of cases per resident in the country. That is alarming and requires urgent action by all of us – otherwise it’s only a matter of time before we start to again see family, friends, work colleagues and neighbours in serious and potentially life threatening conditions that need hospital treatment.
“My message to all employees is clear – if you live in one of the five Council areas with new restrictions then you must stop indoor visits to other households. We cannot afford to gamble with the health of our loved ones, colleagues or residents we serve.
“It’s clear from images posted on social media over the weekend that a minority of people are ignoring the new measures and this is deeply concerning for all of us. I want to remind everyone that as public servants we have an even more important role and a responsibility to stop the spread of infection in West Dunbartonshire. We must all comply with the guidance.
“The main thing driving the spread in West Dunbartonshire at this time is people meeting up in their homes. That’s why the restrictions effectively ban household visits in West Dunbartonshire and also prevent anyone from West Dunbartonshire visiting homes in other parts of Scotland.
“The rules are clear – anyone who visits anyone else indoors is breaching the restrictions and risking the health of others, and that includes visiting a friend for dinner or a relative for a cup of tea.
The only exception is where you have formed an extended household with a single adult. The restrictions don’t apply to those who are attending properties to provide vital Council services, for example, care, repairs or maintenance.
“I know the measures are disruptive but it is a small sacrifice to make to protect our family, friends and communities, particularly the most vulnerable. Do not take the risk of causing or contributing to an outbreak.
“Not only does it risk the health of the people we love, but it risks the prospect of a full lockdown and economic damage to business in the local area. Thank you for your time and stay safe.”
Meanwhile, the SNP government led by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, pictured left, has confirmed that Covid-19 cases have continued to rise and as a safety measure the restrictions announced last week will remain in place for at least another seven days.
The restrictions were introduced on 1 September to prevent the further spread of the virus in the community.
Public Health Scotland experts confirm that the evidence points to the significant factor driving transmission locally is people meeting up in their homes without following the existing guidelines.
During the restrictions, people in the area are again unable to meet other households indoors either in West Dunbartonshire or in other authority areas.
Only essential indoor visits in care homes and hospitals will be permitted, although outdoor visits are still possible at care homes.
In addition, if one household member is identified as a close contact of a confirmed Covid-19 case, the whole household must now self-isolate for 14 days.
Although people from different households can continue to meet outdoors and in hospitality settings, they must adhere to existing guidance.
For indoor meetings this guidance states households should be 2m apart and should not meet in groups that exceed three households, or eight person limit.
For outdoor meetings the guidance states households should be 2m apart and should not meet in groups that exceed five households, or 15 person limit.
People who are providing care or essential support can make indoor visits but must take extra hygiene precautions and those who have formed an extended household can continue to meet indoors with enhanced hygiene measures in place.
Residents who were previously shielding have been advised to strictly follow physical distancing and hygiene measures.
Council Leader, Councillor Jonathan McColl, pictured right, said: “While I appreciate these restrictions may be disruptive to you and your family, I urge you all to strictly follow them as this is the only way to protect our loved ones as well as the wider community from this virus. Please do not take the risk of causing or contributing to an outbreak in our area or beyond.
“While there has been a focus on house parties, please remember that any indoor visit – even having a relative over for a cup of tea – breaches the restrictions and risks the health of others.
“If we all adhere strictly to these new measures, we will have the best chance of suppressing this virus and avoiding the need for any stricter measures being imposed on us.
“As a Council, we will continue to follow the advice of both Public Health Scotland and the Scottish Government and will continue to share information with residents via the Council’s website and social media pages.”
The Scottish Government has not ruled out extending restrictions if necessary to protect public health.
Further information on restrictions can be found here: https://www.gov.scot
- The picture of Dumbarton from the air was taken by Craig Jump of UTR Media