LISTEN: John Swinney gives his view on the increase in restrictions in Highland Perthshire
From Friday, Perth and Kinross, alongside Angus and Fife, will move into level 3 Coronavirus restrictions as part of Scotland’s Strategic Framework to suppress the virus.
Speaking in Parliament, First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said: “The very difficult, but, in our view, the very necessary and precautionary decision to move Fife, Angus and Perth and Kinross to level three from Friday.
“While on the raw indicators alone Angus, Perth and Kinross are not yet meeting the level thresholds, and Fife is just meeting one of them, all three areas are on a sharply rising trajectory.”
Referring to data to support the decision, the First Minister turned to ‘the seven-day number of cases, per hundred thousand of the population, has increased in Perth and Kinross by 32%.’
These new restrictions will end the serving of alcohol, bring travel outside of the area to an end, limit exercise and will not permit events to go forward.
Mrs Sturgeon added: “I know how disappointing this will be to residents and businesses in these three areas, however, and this is an important point, by acting now we can hopefully prevent an even more serious deterioration of the situation in future.”
Regional MSP for Mid Scotland and Fifie, Mark Ruskell said: “It is extremely disappointing that Perth and Kinross has been moved into level 3, but clearly with a recent increase in cases it is vital that every precaution is taken to halt transmission of the virus.
“I am pleased that the furlough support scheme has been extended which should help avoid some job losses. It is however clearly unacceptable that someone on minimum wage would be asked to work on 80% of their income, so I once again call on the Chancellor to ensure that no one is asked to live on a wage below the minimum wage.
“The Scottish Government must ensure that Perth and Kinross Council has the resources it needs to support the most vulnerable in our communities at this extremely challenging time.”
The Green MSP added an optimistic note saying: “This week we’ve heard the good news that a vaccine may be on its way. But until it’s here it’s vital that we all continue to buckle down and protect one another.”
Another regional MSP for Perth and Kinross, Murdo Fraser, took to twitter to say the move from the government is a ‘serious blow’ to the local hospitality sector.
Deputy First Minister and Perthshire North representative, John Swinney, said: “The news that Perth and Kinross is moving from level two to level three restrictions will obviously be disappointing for local people and local businesses.
“But it’s been a necessary move because of the increase in cases within the Perth and Kinross area.
“And the Scottish Government has decided to take early intervention and early preventative action to try to make sure that we suppress the spread of the virus.”
Perth and Kinross Council’s Executive Director of Education and Children’s Services took the opportunity to remind parents that under the new guidance school pupils will now have to wear face masks in school.
She said ‘it will now be mandatory for S4 to S6 pupils to wear face coverings in class, as well as corridors and communal areas of the school.’