First Minister Sturgeon and SNP Council leader McColl.
Stay in the house and No, sir, you can’t boogie
By Lauren Crooks
West Dunbartonshire has been placed under Level Four restrictions following today’s Covid-19 review from the Scottish Government.
The restrictions are the strictest of the five-level alert system brought in by the government to slow the spread of the virus across Scotland.
The new measures will come into place from 6pm on Friday 20 November and will be in place for three weeks.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the restrictions, which will be in place for all Greater Glasgow and Clyde authorities apart from Inverclyde, as well as Stirling and North and South Lanarkshire, will help to protect the NHS and could mean a slight easing of the rules for Christmas.
Under the Level Four restrictions, residents are being told to stay at home where possible, and limit social interaction. No, sir, you can’t boogie.
Travelling out of or into a Level 4 area is also not permitted, and this will become enforceable by law from Friday.
A number of premises across the area will have to close, including non essential shops, pubs, cafes, and restaurants, though takeaways can continue operating.
Barbers, pubs and restaurants will be closed for the period of restrictions.
In addition, leisure centres, gyms, beauty salons, hairdressers and other close contact retail services will be closed for the period of restrictions, along with indoor visitor attractions and all leisure and entertainment premises.
Holiday accommodation will be closed to tourism and hotels, B&Bs and self catering will only remain open for essential customers.
Schools, early learning centres and formal childcare settings can remain open, however informal childcare should only be provided for essential workers.
Residents will continue to be unable to visit each other’s homes.
People from two different households can continue to meet outdoors in groups of no more than six people, providing existing guidance on face coverings, physical distancing and hygiene is adhered to.
The guidelines state that residents should only use public transport for essential journeys, and avoid car-sharing with other households wherever possible.
Places of worship can remain open for a maximum of 20 people, while weddings can go ahead with no more than 15 people, and no reception can be held.
Funerals and wakes can continue but the limit remains at 20 people.
In addition to the furlough scheme for staff unable to work due to restrictions, the Scottish Government has introduced a grant of up to £3000 every four weeks for closed businesses and a lesser grant for those essential businesses able to remain open but who are still impacted by the restrictions.
Money is also available for self-employed people unable to access other support. Full details of all the funding available will be released in the coming days.
Council Leader, Councillor Jonathan McColl, said: “While I understand these new restrictions are tough, they are intended to be a sharp shock to Covid-19, to significantly slow the spread of this dangerous virus in our communities.
“The restrictions are also intended to give us the best chance of enjoying some kind of family celebration at Christmas, which we all really want. Acting now and following the rules to reduce cases in our area is the only way we can secure a slight relaxation of restrictions as we approach the festive period.
“I know this will be tough for everyone, especially for the businesses that have to close their doors, but please do not give up hope. We will do everything we can to support you. We have all worked hard to fight this virus for months now, and these short-term measures will amplify the effects of our efforts so far, bringing us a step closer to bringing normality back to our lives.
“I would like to thank everyone in West Dunbartonshire for their continued support and the sacrifices they have already made and are continuing to make in our collective effort to stop the spread of Covid.
“I would urge everyone to familiarise themselves with the new restrictions ahead of Friday, and please continue to follow them strictly. We all must play our part in doing the right thing for West Dunbartonshire, each other and our extended families.”
Later Jackie Baillie, the MSP for Dumbarton, clarified the situations for those who live in the confusing geographical area that is her constituency which includes Helensburgh and Lomond.
She said: “West Dunbartonshire – along with ten other local authority areas – will move to tier four of COVID-19 restrictions from Friday (20 Nov) at 6pm. These restrictions will be in force for three weeks and will be lifted on 11 December. Argyll and Bute will remain in tier two of COVID-19 restrictions.”
She added: ““I know that this move to tier four will come as a great shock for many local people in Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven and will be a cause for distress and concern.
“We have all sacrificed so much this year and our frontline workers have now been working around the clock in unimaginable circumstances for over eight months now.
“I recognise that these restrictions are hugely disruptive and I recognise the severe impact this has on businesses in our area, particularly those in the hospitality and tourism sector.
“I have raised the need for extended financial support for the many business owners, workers and organisations that will be negatively affected by these heightened restrictions.
“I encourage all local people to follow all the advice and restrictions that are in place. Together we can reduce the number of daily cases and deaths, ease the pressure on our cherished health service, and beat this virus.”
Commenting on the restrictions in Argyll & Bute, Jackie Baillie, pictured above right, added: “Whilst Helensburgh and Lomond remain in tier two, there have been numerous visitors to the area from Glasgow and beyond. There have also been recent covid outbreaks in the area, some of which may have been caused by visitors.
“The Scottish Government intend to make a travel ban a matter of law, but I am concerned about whether it is enforceable. The police have a huge job to do already and I am not sure what practical measures they can take to dissuade people from travelling across boundaries.”
Scottish Liberal Party leader Willie Rennie wants to know why levels are up.
Responding to the First Minister’s statement and confirmation that 11 local authorities will be moved in to level 4, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “These new measures will change the way of life for hundreds of thousands of people so it is essential that we fully scrutinise them in a debate and vote on Thursday.
“People deserve to know why levels are on the up when infections are going down and why sections of society are being closed when the evidence of the drivers of infection are not clear.
“A travel ban is a serious issue so we need to full understand how this will be enforced. Encouraging people to do the right thing is best so people should be told why this is being put into law.”
Further information on level restrictions can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-protection-levels/pages/protection-level-4/