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Edinburgh to remain in tier three

Posted: 11th November 2020

The First Minister has confirmed that Edinburgh will remain in tier three of the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 restrictions framework.

Edinburgh was first placed in the third level of Scotland’s new five-tier system on Monday, 2 November, following recommendations from public health officials. This aims to limit the spread of the virus in indoor settings while allowing for a change in hospitality opening hours across the city. It also ensures that schools can stay open.

In the first weekly review of the measures, it was confirmed that restrictions will continue in Edinburgh. These include:

• No in-home socialising
• Up to six people from two households can socialise outdoors or in hospitality establishments
• Hospitality establishments are not permitted to sell alcohol indoors or out, but can supply food for consumption on premise within certain times
• Accommodation is open and follows the same rules as hospitality
• Essential (e.g. work-related) use of accommodation can continue
• Local tourism is encouraged within the local authority area only
• No non-essential travel into or out of the local authority area
• There are travel exemptions for essential travel for work, education, essential shopping, health reasons, outdoor exercise, weddings and funerals and transit through restricted areas
• International quarantine regulations continue to apply at all levels

The First Minister stated that there was potential for measures to be eased if the COVID-19 cases continue to decline in the Capital, where numbers have dropped since the most recent restrictions were first introduced. Council officers are continuing to work closely with the Scottish Government and other agencies, supporting businesses with the ongoing restrictions and drawing up detailed plans in anticipation of future tier changes.

Council Leader Adam McVey said:

“We fully appreciate the extremely challenging circumstances faced by businesses across the city, many of whom have worked hard to adapt to changing public health guidance. Following today’s announcement that current restrictions will remain in place here, I want to thank the hospitality sector in Edinburgh for their efforts in keeping our communities safe – we know none of this is easy.

“We know from today’s update that Edinburgh is on the right track and could soon be moved to a lower tier. This follows close engagement with the Scottish Government, and we’ll be continuing to liaise closely with them as we work to emerge from restrictions. What we must do is continue to stick to the rules if we are to reduce COVID-19 cases even further, where we can confidently ease restrictions which are currently in place to protect the public’s health and safety.

“We’ve seen a number of areas across Scotland move into more restrictive tiers today. This underlines why a cautious approach towards Edinburgh moving tiers is the right one – making sure that we’re doing so on a sustainable basis to minimise the risk of increased infections. I know businesses are worried about an approach that could see us go backwards and that’s something we’re all keen to avoid. Only if we work together to follow the rules, based on sound advice from epidemiologists, will we be able to move towards a lower tier, as safely and sustainably as possible.”

Cammy Day, Depute Leader, said:

“Thanks to all those who have followed the rules over recent months we have seen an encouraging downward trend in COVID-19 cases. It’s disappointing that businesses will miss out on benefits from trading during these challenging times, at least for now, but we recognise the need to be cautious.

“We will continue to engage closely with the Scottish Government to maintain our unique city’s approach while supporting businesses to comply with guidance and to maximise income during this time. Through a measured, informed strategy, based on expert advice, we can move toward a lower tier and the reopening of businesses across the Capital.”

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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