Covid restrictions: Borders braced for tier two
The leader of Scottish Borders Council has warned that being subject to level two restrictions could be the “worst case scenario” for the region.
Shona Haslam’s comments come following Scottish Government advise today that the Borders should be placed in the second tier when the new system comes into force next Monday, November 2.
This effectively means a continuation of the current measures that have been in place over the last three weeks, with indoor socialising banned and only six people from two households allowed to meet outdoors.
Restricts will continue to impact hospitality and leisure, with alcohol not allowed to be sold indoors unless served with meals, outdoor events banned, and soft play, snooker halls and nightclubs to remain closed.
But Ms Haslam is demanding more information before the council agrees to the designation.
She said: “Being in tier two has the potential to be the worst case scenario, it would be a hammer blow to local businesses already feeling the economic strain of the pandemic.
“If we were in tier three business would be getting support as they would have to close, if we were in tier one then businesses could stay open and stay viable.
“I am really concerned that being in tier two with the current restrictions on hospitality but with no support will be disastrous for local business.”
She has asked the Scottish Government a list of questions, including what the criteria is for each of the five tiers in terms of R number and rate per 100,000; What is the criteria for moving between tiers; Whether there is flexibility to localise the lockdown further, for example, different restrictions for different areas of the Borders depending on local rates of Covid-19; and what business support is in place for the tourism and hospitality industry in the Borders that may not have to close but will be badly affected.
“The Scottish Government must provide clear answers to the people of the Scottish Borders before I can agree to any tiering designation for the Scottish Borders,” added Ms Haslam, councillor for Tweeddale East.
“Without this transparency it is incredibly difficult to understand what the SNP Government is doing and how they are taking their decisions.
“With low rates per 100,000, good NHS capacity and no community transition, I need certainty that tier two is the correct tier for the Scottish Borders.
“Over the next few days I will be having conversations with the Scottish Government with regards to this tiering system. I will be arguing for clear evidence as to why we are in tier two and business support for those businesses affected.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon unveiled the five-level system to contain the coronavirus outbreak in the country last week.
The levels range from 0 – which imposes light controls on socialising, through to total lockdown, save for essential services, in level four.