A virtual Parliamentary session took place today with the First Minister updating members on the pandemic and the Scottish Government’s response.
The First Minister confirmed the restrictions across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde will remain in place and I thought it would be useful to provide them again for clarity:
• All licensed premises will be required to close, with the exception of takeaway services
• Cafés (unlicensed premises) which don’t have an alcohol licence will be able to open between 6am and 6pm
• Takeaways (including from pubs and restaurants) can continue
• Evening meals may be served in accommodation for residents only but no alcohol can be served
• Specific life events, such as weddings and funerals, may continue with alcohol, with current meeting rules for these events (20 person limit in regulated premises only)
• No group exercise classes for indoor gyms and sports courts, pools with an exemption for under 18s
• No adult (18+) contact sports or training, except professional sports, indoor or outdoor
• No outdoor live events
• Snooker/pool halls, indoor bowling, casinos and bingo halls are to close
• Public transport use should be minimised as much as possible, such as for education and work, where it cannot be done from home
• Current meeting rules, maximum of six people from two households, continue to apply
There are also additional changes to the face covering regulations:
• The wearing of face coverings in a workplace canteen, when not seated at a table, such as when queueing, entering or leaving the canteen (in line with other hospitality venues) – from Friday 16 October
• The wearing of face coverings in other indoor communal workplaces, such as corridors and social spaces – from Monday 19 October
• Exemption for couples during their indoor marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration, providing there is a partition or 2 metres can be maintained between the couple and other people – Friday 16 October
I know these restrictions are hard but they are necessary in suppressing the virus and I want to thank everyone for their continued support.
I understand the concerns raised both by constituents directly to me and those reported in the press this week on the flu vaccine programme.
I made contact with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde at the beginning of the week seeking an urgent response to the rising number of complaints regarding the implementation of the flu vaccination programme for the over 65s.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have assured me that everyone over 65 would receive a letter with their appointment details for their vaccine by end of October.
The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport has also been in discussions with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde regarding the matter.
Support in Isolation
Applications for the Self-Isolation Support Grant have opened for low income workers who are asked to self-isolate and would lose income if they needed to isolate.
The £500 grant will help those who have been asked by Test and Protect to isolate, following testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or having been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.
These payments are designed to help people self-isolate for the required period to stop the spread of the virus, but who would face financial hardship due to being asked to self-isolate and will be targeted at those in receipt of Universal Credit or legacy benefits who are employed or self-employed.
The Local Self-Isolation Assistance Service is also being introduced to support people needing to isolate. As well as being able to self-refer for support through the existing National Assistance Helpline, local authorities will now proactively contact those being asked to self-isolate to offer help, advice and assistance including help to access essential food and medication or local support services.
Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop has outlined details of a £40 million fund to help businesses affected by temporary restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The COVID-19 Restrictions Fund will provide one-off grants of up to £3,000, depending on rateable value, to bars, restaurants and other businesses required to close by regulations.
A hardship fund with grants of up to £1,500 will support some businesses that remain open but are directly impacted by the restrictions, including those in the direct supply chains of firms that must close from tonight.
In addition, up to £9 million of funding will help with the costs of re-furloughing staff by supporting the 20% salary contribution required by the UK Government.
A discretionary fund of up to £11 million will help businesses that need support but don’t fall into the above categories. This will, for example, support soft play centres that have been unable to re-open this month.
Grants will be distributed by local authorities. Up to £2,000 will be payable to businesses with a rateable value of up to £51,000 that are required to close by law, for those with a rateable value of £51,001 or above the grant will be £3,000.
Local authority websites will be updated at 9 am on Tuesday 20th October, allowing businesses to complete applications.
Fantastic results from another poll published this week by Ipsos Mori recording the highest ever support for Independence at 58%.
The poll puts support for independence at the highest ever level, and shows the SNP would also have 58% of the constituency vote in next year’s election, putting the party on course to win an outright majority of seats at Holyrood.
It shows strong support for the leadership of Nicola Sturgeon, with 72% saying they are satisfied with the job she is doing as First Minister – a net approval rating of +49.
The poll also finds a majority of people in Scotland (51%) feel Boris Johnson “definitely should” grant a new independence vote if the SNP win a majority of seats in May 2021.
Faced with the chaotic and incompetent government of Boris Johnson and a Westminster system which treats Scotland as an afterthought at best, more and more people are deciding that the best way forward for Scotland is as an equal, independent country.
I was, and remain acutely aware of the impact the virus has had on our public transport system across the city.
I wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport seeking additional funding from the Scottish Government to support in particular our subway. The Cabinet Secretary has I’m pleased to say recognised the detrimental effects on passenger numbers throughout the pandemic and awarded additional funding to support the subway through these extremely challenging times.
Queen Street Station
Finally can I encourage everyone to support Queen Street Station’s bid for the World Cup of Stations. The station qualified out of 2500 stations and is now through to the final 48.
This year the competition is celebrating the role that stations and key worker staff continue to play in keeping the country running through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The competition is now open and you can vote here:@RailDeliveryGrp
Good luck Queen Street Station!
As always please follow the Scottish Government 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