The Scottish Government has announced action to support the economy.
A helpline providing businesses across Scotland with advice and guidance on COVID-19 has been announced by Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop.
The helpline, which is now live, will be open Monday to Friday, between 8.30am to 5.30pm and can be reached via 0300 303 0660.
Based at Scottish Enterprise’s existing call centre in Clydebank, advisers across Scotland will answer questions from businesses related to COVID-19. The helpline will also help the Scottish Government identify the current challenges facing businesses.
On Thursday the First Minister confirmed that the Scottish and UK Governments are moving from the containment phase to delay, and that large gatherings of over 500 people will be cancelled to support the resilience of emergency services.
The Chief Medical Officer has advised people with mild symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 including continuing coughing, or a fever or a temperature of above 37.8 should self-isolate for seven days from Monday 16th March. Those who have been in contact with someone who is experiencing symptoms should only self-isolate if they begin to experience symptoms.
During a meeting with representatives from Scotland’s business support organisations including the STUC this week, Ms Hyslop stressed the importance of everyone following the latest COVID-19 advice.
Ms Hyslop said:
“Scotland is well-prepared for a significant outbreak of coronavirus but people have a vital role to play in helping us contain any outbreak by following the latest health and travel advice.
“This situation presents a significant risk to global and domestic economic activity. That is why today we are launching a business helpline which will provide companies in Scotland with the support and guidance they need to respond appropriately.
“We continue to work closely with our partners to identify what further support businesses need. For example, the Minister for Local Government and Planning and the Chief Planner wrote to all planning authorities this week encouraging them to relax their approach to the enforcement of planning restrictions on shop delivery times and opening hours.
“I also chaired a meeting with representatives from Scotland’s business support organisations including the STUC to hear their concerns and provide reassurance that the Scottish Government will do everything in our power to protect the workforce, businesses and our economy.
“I’d also encourage everyone to refer to the new guidance on COVID-19 that includes workplace advice on reducing the spread of infection.
“Following the UK Government’s budget we also require urgent clarification on what funding Scotland will receive from the announcements made by the UK Government, at a time when prospects for the economy and public finances remain very uncertain as the short term impacts of COVID-19 unfold.”