The First Minister confirmed in her briefing on Tuesday a slight easing of the current restrictions.
From today, the requirement to Stay at Home will change to Stay Local, allowing people to make non-essential journeys within their local authority area.
Hairdressers, garden centres, car showrooms and forecourts, homeware stores and non-essential click and collect services will be able to open from Monday 5 April, subject to enhanced safety measures including physical distancing, face coverings and pre-booking where appropriate. More college students will be able to return to on-campus learning and 12-17 year-olds will be able to resume outdoor contact sports from this date.
Restrictions on non-essential travel across local authority boundaries will remain in place. People must stay within their council area for non-essential shopping and should only travel to another area for essential shopping if there are no practical alternatives. People should also continue to work from home where they can to prevent unnecessary contact that could risk transmission of the virus.
You can access the updated guidance here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-protection-levels/pages/protection-level-4/
The numbers of people who have received their first dose of the vaccine has reached almost 2,500,000 with just under 340,000 receiving their second dose.
The majority of over 65 year olds have now received a first dose of the vaccine as well as 98% of 60-64 year olds, 81% of 55 to 59 year olds, and 57% of 50 to 54 year olds.
The programme remains on course to offer a first dose of the vaccine by the middle of April to all over 50 year olds; all unpaid carers; and all adults with particular underlying health conditions.
SP Election 2021
The Parliament is now in a campaign recess. Under normal circumstances the Parliament would have been dissolved on 25 March at midnight. However, we are still dealing with the impact of the pandemic and it is necessary for all current elected MSPs to remain so, should Parliament need to be recalled to make any necessary changes to legislation in light of the virus.
During the Scottish Parliament election campaign period, I am permitted to continue to progress existing cases. For any new case, guidance issued by the Scottish Parliament states that MSPs are permitted to take on new casework only in circumstances where constituents require urgent assistance.
If your query is not urgent, I would suggest contacting your local MP or Councillor to assist you with your query. You can find their details at: https://www.writetothem.com/
For the latest COVID19 advice, please visit the Scottish Government website www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/
The SNP have so far made a number of excellent pledges if re-elected to Government which I wholeheartedly support.
The SNP positive vision of what our country can do and will do under their leadership is in stark contrast to the Tories.
Some of the pledges made so far include:
- A new National Care Service
- A cancer recovery plan
- 100,000 affordable homes supporting 14,000 jobs a year
- A laptop, chromebook or tablet for every school pupil, so no child misses out on learning,
- A doubling of the Scottish Child Payment as part of the mission to end child poverty
- A Women’s Business Centre to help the next generation of entrepreneurs
- Abolishing non-residential social care charges
- A national wage for carers
As we emerge from the pandemic it is crucial we have a strong, compassionate Government with the best interests of the people of Scotland at it’s heart. The SNP is proposing the most ambitious policy programme any party has ever put before the people of Scotland in a Scottish Parliament election
With both votes SNP we can deliver these policy commitments and so much more.
Keep up to date with the campaign here: https://www.snp.org/news/
Register to Vote
For anyone who has not already registered to vote you only have until 19 April to register which you can do here: https://www.mygov.scot/register-to-vote-scotland/register-to-vote-online/ Your vote matters and enables you to exercise your democratic right.
With the impact of the pandemic many people will have understandable concerns about travelling to their polling stations. To reduce your risk from the virus you can easily apply for a postal ballot here: https://www.snp.org/postal-vote/ please do this before the cut off date – Tuesday 6 April at 5pm.
I, and many others very much welcomed the announcement last month from the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, on a Single Building Assessment, for those affected by cladding.
Work is now underway to start the pilot project. It is my understanding that the Scottish Government are now seeking to collect information on buildings with suspected dangerous cladding and have launched an expression of interest process starting from 31 March 2021 and running until 25 May 2021.
Only one expression of interest is needed for each building so if you are an individual flat owner you might want to consult your property manager or residents’ association first.
You can access the form and further information here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/single-building-assessment-expression-of-interest-form/
Please keep following the Scottish Government guidance https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-protection-levels/pages/protection-level-4/ and remember the FACTS: Face coverings, Avoid crowded places, Clean hands and surfaces regularly, Two metre distancing; and Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms.