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Scotland’s Economy: An update on Covid baseline measures for business

“Ms Forbes, The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy has just issued this statement online, highlighting the need for everyone to remain focused on current baseline measures and their importance to the collective effort to supress the virus.

“The guidance that remains in place around baseline measures and good practice is highlighted here:

“As you will all be aware, we remain in a delicate place with high rates of infection across the country, so we need to collectively focus on maximising adherence on current baseline measures.”

Since the start of the pandemic, businesses have made huge changes and sacrifices to protect public health. I’m incredibly grateful to the business community and would like to thank everyone who has spent time and effort to make their businesses as safe as possible for customers and staff. Your contribution has been vital in helping us control the spread of the virus.

We know these necessary modifications have often had a detrimental impact on the economic activity of businesses so I’m pleased our economy is now able to open fully as we move beyond Level 0.

However, the virus has not disappeared and case numbers have been increasing. That is why it is important we keep some precautionary measures in place to allow for a gradual and cautious approach, particularly as we move into the winter when more people will be interacting indoors. This will help to reduce the risk of outbreaks and allow all sectors of the economy to stay open.

Businesses have shown great leadership throughout the pandemic in encouraging adherence with mitigations and we would ask that this continues at this fragile time. I would urge customers to follow the guidance too, to support the businesses they use.

The most important step we can take to control the virus is to get vaccinated and we would encourage all who have not yet been vaccinated to do so.

Alongside this we urge businesses to continue to communicate and work with their employees to implement measures which will help us supress the virus:

  1. wear face coverings – this is legally required in most indoor public places including retail, restaurants, cafes, bars, workplaces and on public transport for staff and customers
  2. support staff to self-isolate if they are asked to do so by the NHS
  3. regular testing of staff to help break the chains of transmission
  4.  support staff to work from home some of the time to reduce the ability of the virus to transmit
  5. keep your premises as well ventilated as possible

Guidance for safer businesses and workplaces can be found on the Scottish Government website, including a range of further precautionary measures and good practice which can be used in workplaces to reduce the risk of outbreaks.

By working together, we can ensure businesses remain open and our economy recovers from the effects of the pandemic.

Kate Forbes
Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy

During her COVID-19 media briefing today, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon covered the follow (27/08/21):

  • The FM reported that 6,835 new cases of COVID-19 had been registered and that 479 people were in hospital, with 47 in intensive care. She also reported that there had been 4 additional deaths, bringing the total to 8,103. On vaccines, she noted that 4,085,552 people had received their first dose of the vaccine and 3,587,145 second doses had been administered.
  • The FM noted that this was the sharpest rise in new cases since the pandemic began and that it was a cause for concern. However, she also observed that there had been a record number of tests and that vaccines were having a positive effect. However, she reiterated her claim that the situation was “fragile”.
  • The FM confirmed that she was not considering a “circuit breaker lockdown” at the moment.
  • The FM reiterated her calls for businesses and individuals to observe the guidance in place but noted that she could not rule out further measures in future.
  • In the following session of questions, STV asked what the tipping point for further rules being imposed would be. The FM responded by saying that it was not a binary decision and that the government was monitoring the situation closely. ITV Border raised the case of the South of Scotland, which had seen people turned away at hospitals. The FM said that she was aware of the situation and encouraged everyone in the area to do what they could to alleviate the pressure on local services. The Herald and the Mail both raised the subject of vaccine passports. The FM noted that there were ethical concerns to be considered but that the Scottish Government wouldn’t rule any further action.

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