Thursday 30 July 2020
The First Minister made her statement to Parliament today on the easing of lockdown measures. Some would have been hoping for the First Minister to open up further sectors I understand the cautious approach particularly when we are seeing a rise in numbers of cases of Covid in other countries. We will therefore remain in Phase 3 of the routemap with an update in a further 3 weeks.
The main points from the statement included the much anticipated confirmation of a return to full time schooling for pupils from 11 August. They will have quick access to testing for all those who are symptomatic, and a targeted, enhanced surveillance programme to highlight any impact on pupils and staff.
The First Minister also announced the return to schools will be supported with an additional £30 million to recruit new teachers. This brings the total additional Scottish Government investment in the teaching profession to £75 million, enough to recruit up to 1,400 new teachers. This funding will help address learning loss and ensure much-needed resilience in our schools as we recover from coronavirus.
On top of £20 million of funding previously committed, a further £30 million will also be available as part of a £50 million education recovery fund for local authorities. This will support cleaning, facilities management, school transport and other practical issues that are vital in ensuring a safe return to school.
Two sets of indicative dates have been announced for sectors that remain shut as a vital part of the country’s public health measures in tackling COVID-19.
These indicative dates are contingent on the continued suppression of the virus. Re-opening dates for indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports courts (including dance schools) will be reviewed in three weeks to see if they can be brought forward.
For those who have been shielding the advice will be officially pause from Saturday 1 August, meaning those who have been shielding to protect themselves can now follow the advice set for the general public.
Routine eye care services can resume within community optometry practices and in patients’ own homes from Monday (3 August), and urgent dental care involving aerosols may begin in practices for NHS patients from 17 August.
Further indicative dates have also been published which include the following:
Indicative date: Monday 24 August
Live outdoor events, with physical distancing, enhanced hygiene, restricted numbers and following guidance
Organised outdoor contact sport for all ages, following guidance from relevant sports bodies
Bingo halls, snooker/pool halls and indoor bowling, with physical distancing, enhanced hygiene and guidance
Funfairs (static and travelling), following guidance
Amusement arcades and casinos, with enhanced hygiene and following guidance
Driving lessons can resume, following guidance
Indicative date: Monday 14 September
Indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports courts, with physical distancing and enhanced hygiene (to be kept under review in case earlier date feasible)
Soft play, with enhanced hygiene and following guidance
Indoor live events, with physical distancing, restricted numbers and following guidance
Theatres, live music/concert halls and other indoor entertainment venues, with physical distancing requirements and following , however please note this does not include nightclubs – engagement with the sector will take place ahead of the next review.
Limited reopening of stadiums, following guidance and with options for testing on earlier dates where agreed with government.
Please remember to follow the Scottish Government advice and follow the FACTS:
Face coverings in enclosed spaces
Avoid crowded places
Clean hands and surfaces regularly
Two metre distancing; and
Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms