Thursday 28 May 2020
The First Minister has announced the relaxation of some of the lockdown measures and the country entering into Phase 1 of the routemap which can be found here https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-framework-decision-making-scotlands-route-map-through-out-crisis/ out of lockdown.
These are very cautious steps and the central message remains that you should be at home and if you develop symptoms call 0800 028 2816 and isolate.
Phase 1 includes and will be put in place from Friday 29 May:
Seeing family and friends: We are planning in this phase to change regulations to permit people to use public outdoor spaces for recreational purposes, for example to sit in a public space. We are also planning for one household to meet up with another household outdoors, in small numbers, including in gardens, but with physical distancing required.
Getting around: Consistent with the reopening of workplaces set out in this phase, where home working is not possible businesses and organisations are encouraged to manage travel demand through staggered start times and flexible working patterns.
You will also be permitted to travel short distances for outdoor leisure and exercise but advice to stay within a short distance of your local community and travel by walk, wheel and cycle where possible.
International border health measures are set to be introduced.
Schools, childcare and other educational settings: We are planning in this phase to change guidance so that staff can return to schools and for an increased number of children to access critical childcare provision including the re-opening of child minding services and fully outdoor nursery provision. We are planning to make support available to pupils at key transition points, e.g. those due to start P1 or S1 where possible.
Working or running a business: In this phase we are planning for remote working to remain the default position for those who can.
For those workplaces that are reopening, employers should encourage staggered start times and flexible working.
We are also planning for outdoor workplaces to resume with physical distancing measures in place once guidance is agreed.
We are also planning for the construction sector to implement the first two phases in its restart plan with a decision to move to ‘phase 2’ of the construction sector’s plan only after consulting with government to ensure it is safe to do so and in line with public health advice.
Preparing for the safe reopening of the housing market.
Workplaces resuming in the following phases can undertake preparatory work on physical distancing and hygiene measures in this phase.
Shopping, eating and drinking out: In this phase we are planning the gradual opening of drive through food outlets as well as the re-opening of garden centres and plant nurseries with physical distancing. Associated cafes (e.g. in garden centres) should not reopen at this stage except for take away.
Sport, culture and leisure activities: In this phase we are planning to allow unrestricted outdoors exercise adhering to distancing measures and non-contact outdoor activities in the local area – such as golf, hiking, canoeing, outdoor swimming, angling – consistent with the wider rules and guidance applicable to any activity in this phase.
Community and public services We are planning the gradual resumption of key support services in the community. We are expecting to restart face-to-face Children’s Hearings and for there to be greater direct contact for social work and support services with at risk groups and families, and for there to be access to respite/day care to support unpaid carers and for families with a disabled family member. All of these would involve appropriate physical distancing and hygiene measures.
We are planning for the opening of Household Waste Recycling Centres.
Court and tribunal buildings open, with limited business and public access.
Gatherings and occasions: In this phase we are expecting no public gatherings except for meetings of two households and then only outdoors and with physical distancing.
Health and Social Care: In this phase we expect to begin the safe restart of NHS services, covering primary, and community services including mental health.
We are also planning on retaining COVID-free GP services and planning a further scale up of digital consultations.
We expect to roll out the NHS Pharmacy First Scotland service in community pharmacies and increased care offered at emergency dental hubs as practices prepare to open. We will also restart, where possible, urgent electives previously paused. And there will be a resumption of IVF treatment following the approval of Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.
There will be an increase provision of emergency eyecare in the community.
We will consider the introduction of designated visitors to care homes.
The Test and Protect system will be available across the country.
Test and Protect
The First Minister set out this week the details of the test, trace and isolate programme Test and Protect.
Test and Protect – NHS Scotland’s approach to controlling the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community – will be rolled out across all health boards from today.
From that date, everyone aged five and over who has COVID-19 symptoms of a new continuous cough, temperature or loss or change in sense of taste or smell should go to NHS Inform online https://www.nhsinform.scot/ or call 0800 028 2816 to book a test.
Under the system, people will need to isolate with their household as soon as they have symptoms and, if they have a positive test result, they will be asked to provide details of all recent close contacts to NHS contact tracers. Those people will be contacted and asked to isolate for 14 days.
As part of the roll out, guidance for individuals and employers has been published which sets out advice on what to do if someone is displaying symptoms or if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
It includes information on how to self-isolate safely as part of Test and Protect, what plans need to be made by households and families, and how to help older people or those with underlying health conditions.
Additional support for self-isolation is also being made available to those who need it through the National Assistance Helpline on 0800 111 4000 (Mon – Fri 9-5pm).
Return to Work
New guidance has been published for retailers and manufacturers to consider how people can safely return to work, with updated guidance for construction to publish later in the week.
The documents, which are among the first for a number of specific sectors, have been developed in consultation with business, trades unions and regulators. It will provide advice on essential equipment and services needed to create the conditions for safer workplaces.
Companies are expected to undertake a robust risk management approach that has been developed and maintained through joint working with employees. This will offer assurances to workers when the time is right to return to work.
Working to the phased approach in the route map on easing lockdown published last week, it details the steps required for businesses, acknowledging that some will face more complications when reopening than others, while also considering the impact on employees.
You can access more details for manufacturing here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-manufacturing-sector-guidance/ for retail here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-retail-sector-guidance/ and customer guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-consumers/
If you have not already done so I would also recommend you look at the routemap published by the Scottish Government last week which sets out the phased approach from lockdown. You can find this here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-framework-decision-making-scotlands-route-map-through-out-crisis/
I am certain that many of you will have an idea of my opinion on the events in the past week with UK Government guidance being flouted on several occasions by the Prime Ministers Special Adviser.
The damage this has done to the public’s confidence in not only the public health message but the trust in the UK Government is palpable. That Mr Cummings remains in post, and the lengths the Prime Minister and certain members of the UK Government have gone to protect and defend his actions are completely appalling.
The rules were broken, the rules that thousands of people have followed despite incredibly difficult circumstances and he has to go.
I am deeply concerned about the news this week that some of the funding to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak will not be provided by the UK Government.
Scottish government Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has urged the UK Government to provide certainty when announcing funding for Scotland to tackle the Covid crisis.
On May 2 the UK Government announced a £617 million extension to business grants, which it advised would generate £60 million of funding consequentials under the Barnett Formula. This was then duly committed to the Scottish Government’s Covid business response.
However, the UK Government informed the Scottish Government this week that this additional funding would not now materialise, increasing the pressure on the Scottish budget.
Additionally, last month £35 million of consequentials was earmarked to the Scottish Government in respect of charity support direct grant, but this was amended by the Treasury to £25 million at a later date.
Ms Forbes, who has written to UK Chief Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay to raise the Scottish Government’s concerns and I will keep you updated on the situation.
Heritage Lottery Fund
Some good news for our heritage with the announcement of an extension to the Heritage Emergency Fund from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
HLF have now opened a second funding strand of grants of between £50K and £250K, to help organisations to start to explore recovery from COVID-19 and beyond. This support is to help with operational costs and to safeguard heritage at risk, now and for the longer term.
The application process for these larger grants opened on Thursday 21 May 2020 (closing on 30 June 2020). You can access further information on the fund here: https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/news/heritage-emergency-fund-launches-help-sector-updated
As always Stay Home, Stay Safe and if you need any assistance please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0141 339 8734 leaving a message and contact telephone number.