Sandra White MSP for Glasgow Kelvin

Covid-19 Restrictions

The First Minister addressed the Parliament today with the latest on changes to the routemap. Unfortunately, we will remain in Phase 3. This is due to the pandemic accelerating albeit not as bad as we were a few months ago but rising steadily over the past few weeks.

We are all more than aware of the restrictions that have been put in place across the city and these will remain in place for the time being.

Significant measures highlighted today by the First Minister included:

• The limit on the number of people who can meet socially indoors or outdoors (across the country, but Glasgow restrictions regarding meeting indoors remain the same) will be reduced to a maximum of six people, and they should come from no more than two households. This applies in people’s homes and gardens as well as in hospitality and public spaces such as parks. It is not required to count children under 12, from within the two households, within the 6 person limit. The regulations and guidance will be updated to reflect these changes. As before there will be certain limited exemptions to this limit – for example attendance at weddings and funerals. The changes to meeting socially do not apply to services or activities that are already exempt from these restrictions and have been permitted to open subject to their own guidance such as organised sport.

• Face coverings will be mandated for customers and staff in indoor hospitality. There will be an exemption for when customers are eating and drinking. Staff in non-public facing roles, such as kitchen staff, will also be exempt where face coverings may present health and safety issues due to the nature of roles. Exemptions for vulnerable groups/individuals will also apply to hospitality settings. Regulations will the take effect on Monday 14 September.

You can access the updated guidance on the routemap here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-phase-3-scotlands-route-map-update-10th-september-2020/

For information regarding specific restrictions across Glasgow please go here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-local-measures/pages/glasgow/

App

If you have not already done so can I please urge you to download the Scottish Government’s Protect Scotland App. On writing this a quarter of a million people had downloaded which is incredible.

The app can be downloaded here https://protect.scot/ onto phones and will let users know if they have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

The app will automatically alert users if someone reports that they’ve tested positive for Covid-19 and that they have been in close contact recently.

No personal identifiable information will be entered on the app and the Scottish Government has assured that it will not monitor the location of individuals as the app uses Bluetooth technology, and not GPS, to identify contacts.

Internal Market Bill

The Internal Market Bill will not only break international law, as UK Government ministers have freely admitted, it would also end devolution as we know it – by giving the UK Government the power to override the Scottish Parliament in devolved areas including health, education, transport, food and environmental standards.

We know that Scotland has been completely ignored by Westminster throughout the Brexit process. Now we face the destruction of the foundations of devolution and an extreme Tory Brexit imposed on Scotland against our will.

It is a democratic, legal and constitutional outrage, and will be resisted every step of the way.

Students

As the home to almost all of the further and higher education institutions across the city Glasgow Kelvin will this week be welcoming new and returning students.

I was encouraged to see that Scotland’s most senior clinicians have written a joint open letter to college and university students with advice on what to do if they develop cold or flu-like symptoms during the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter states:

• It is essential that anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms or who shares a household with someone who has symptoms does not attend college or university classes, and they self-isolate along with all members of their household. If they test negative, self-isolation can end for everyone. If the test is positive, Test and Protect will give you further advice.

• If you are a contact of a positive case you may be asked to have a test yourself. It is important to remember that even if your test is subsequently negative you must still continue to isolate for a full 14 days.

• If, however, you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 but have other cold and flu-like symptoms, you do not need to be tested and you do not need to self-isolate. You can attend university or college if fit to do so.

Economy

The pandemic has affected all parts of our lives and none more so than the local night time economy. Theatres, live music venues, clubs and comedy venues have been amongst those hardest hit.

I took the opportunity to attend a virtual meeting with representatives across the industry to discuss how we can support the night time economy which is crucial to our city.

I understand the frustrations felt by those involved in the sector and the damage the continued closure is doing to owners, employees, artists, suppliers and the public who are missing out. We have some iconic venues that have been the springboard for many talented artists. Without those venues many successful careers would never have been.

I will continue to do everything I can to ensure the survival of this vital sector not only for our economy, but for everyone involved and the next generation of talent.

Hate Crime

The Scottish Government as many of you may know have brought forward new legislation the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill which was debated this week.

I took the opportunity to contribute to the debate raising concerns I have received from constituents on the legislation as well as those who are in favour of the Bill.

What we must remember is that at the heart of this legislation is a clear message that hateful behaviour has no place in modern Scotland.

The Justice Secretary stated that the Bill does not prevent people expressing controversial, challenging or offensive views nor does it seek to stifle criticism or rigorous debate in any way. What it does aim to do, is seek to achieve an appropriate balance between protecting those who experience hate crime while respecting people’s freedom of expression.

The Scottish Government has pledged to engage and seek compromise as the Bill is scrutinised.

You can access the full debate and my contribution here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=12802&i=115764

As always and particularly in light of the restrictions across the city please 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

Stay safe