Wed 7 Oct, 2020

Anyone asked to live with these new rules wants to see that the government is doing everything it can to control the spread of the virus, so that the restrictions don’t have to last longer than necessary Patrick Harvie

New restrictions announced by the First Minister for the next two weeks must be backed up with an increase in COVID testing and urgent support for people working in affected businesses, the Scottish Green have warned.

The First Minister announced restricted opening hours for hospitality businesses and tougher restrictions in the central belt, promising £40m in emergency funding for businesses to supplement the UK Government’s job retention funds.

Commenting, Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “With over a thousand new cases identified in Scotland in the last day, there is a clear need for new measures from government. But any restrictions placed on the public is a contract.

“Anyone asked to live with these new rules wants to see that the government is doing everything it can to control the spread of the virus, so that the restrictions don’t have to last longer than necessary. That means the review of testing cannot come quickly enough. Many more people need to be getting tested, especially weekly tests for those on the front line. Access to testing should be easy, not chaotic.

“And with the UK Government limiting the financial support of its job retention scheme, additional funding from the Scottish Government needs to get to where it is needed as quickly as possible. That is, it must be guaranteed to reach those hospitality workers whose jobs are on the line.

“The additional restrictions in the central belt could have unforeseen consequences if it encourages people to travel out of the region to places where they have better access to pubs and restaurants. The First Minister advises people not to use public transport but for some, an open pub will be a short drive away. This presents a serious risk.”

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