We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.
Scotland, like the rest of the UK, is desperately trying to control a second wave of COVID-19, with the First Minister warning on Tuesday the total number of deaths from the virus will pass 5,000 in the country this week. The SNP Government recently introduced a new four-tier lockdown system, with large parts of Scotland now being placed into the highest level as coronavirus infections continue to spread at an alarming rate. Under the new framework, weekly reviews are held to decide the level of restrictions to be enforced in each local authority area – dependent the speed at which the infection rate is rising or falling.
But Glasgow Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stuart Patrick has lashed out at the Government, raging firms are being “switched on and off like lightbulbs” with changes in restrictions under the tiered system.
He told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme on Monday, prior to a significant lockdown announcement from Ms Sturgeon earlier today: “It’s not too surprising to find that amongst the membership there’s a degree of disillusionment with the way in which the Government has handled its relationship with business.
“Business went about investing millions in putting in the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), setting up the Test and Protect systems and ensuring that their operations were as safe as they could be.”
“But we feel that the Government hasn’t fully delivered on its side of the bargain, which was to deliver a very successful Test and Protect system.
“That clearly hasn’t worked otherwise we wouldn’t be going into another round of lockdowns.”
Mr Patrick added if huge areas of the country are placed into Level 4 restrictions, “there really has to be sufficient investment in the mass testing that’s going to be necessary to avoid having to go into this miserable lockdown cycle”.
Prior to the announcement from Ms Sturgeon, East Dunbartonshire Council joint leader Andrew Polson urged her SNP Government to use “severe caution” when placing areas into tougher restrictions.
He accused ministers of only playing “lip service” to some of the damage caused by the pandemic.
Mr Polson claimed only the impact on public health is being considered, while not as much attention is being paid to the damage inflicted on the delivery of health and social care, the economy and the exacerbating of social harms.
The warnings came prior to Ms Sturgeon announcing on Tuesday that 11 council areas are being placed into the highest tier of coronavirus restrictions.
The Level 4 restrictions will begin at 6pm on Friday and run until December 11 in Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian.
Ms Sturgeon told MSPs in the Scottish Parliament these areas are being moved up from Level 3 because of the “stubbornly and worryingly high” infection rates there.
Polling guru John Curtice issues independence warning to Sturgeon [VIDEO]
‘Listen sunshine!’ Andrew Neil responds to SNP supporter over taxes [COMMENT]
Sturgeon announces urgent lockdown for huge swaths of Scotland [LATEST]
This means non-essential shops will be shut, along with bars, restaurants, gyms, hairdressers and visitor attractions also prohibited from opening – although schools will stay open.
People are also banned from making non-essential travel into or out of the 11 council areas. This is a restriction that will become law from Friday and will also apply to areas currently following Level 3 restrictions.
The First Minister told MSPs: “I know people are frustrated that other restrictions have remained in place longer than planned but Level 4 is intended to be short and sharp.
“And in this situation, it is specifically intended to have an impact in advance of Christmas and the most challenging winter period.
“Lifting the Level 4 restrictions then – as we will do – also means that they will not be in place for most of the Hanukkah period – so again, while celebrations may be different, there will be a greater degree of freedom.”
Ms Sturgeon added: “We will assess nearer the time the level that will apply in each area when the Level 4 restrictions end on December 11.”
Source: Read Full Article