Council response to announcement of Covid-19 restriction level for East Lothian

East Lothian Council has responded to today’s announcement by the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon of tier 3 Covid-19 restrictions measures for the county.

Depute Council Leader, Cllr Norman Hampshire, said: “Councils across Scotland are best placed to support measures to reduce the transmission of Covid-19 within their area whilst also balancing the possible impacts of such measures on local communities and businesses. In the initial discussions on the Strategic Framework I was encouraged that ‘strong engagement’ and ‘partnership working’ with Scottish Councils and CoSLA were not only mentioned but reinforced as crucial.”

“Since the initial UK-wide ‘lockdown’ at the end of March, councils have been at the forefront of providing services to those most vulnerable including people who had to self-isolate, providing education for children and young people, advising and assisting businesses and ensuring local communities were supported and informed during various stages of restrictions. This direct involvement has provided us with invaluable knowledge and understanding on appropriate measures applicable for our communities and so it is vital that councils are not only consulted on future proposed measures but are able to advise on those most suitable for their areas.”

“Scottish Government Ministers make the decision on which tier each local authority area is placed into and whilst Council Leaders and Chief Executives can aim to influence this they don’t have the deciding power for their own area.”

“Whilst East Lothian currently has a lower infection rate than many other areas across the country we are also aware that unfortunately this rate is rising.  Keeping the virus level low is essential as East Lothian is part of the Lothian Health Board area and any increase in the virus within East Lothian could result in further pressure on our local NHS services at a time of the year when they are in most demand.”

“East Lothian Council has followed the health advice and guidelines since the start of this pandemic.  Placing East Lothian within Tier 3 at this time requires us all to continue to follow certain restrictions. East Lothian Council will continue to work with health colleagues to gather required data that will identify any trends that will allow East Lothian to move into a less restrictive tier when appropriate.”

“In the meantime each of us, local residents and businesses, must continue to follow health advice including the wearing of face coverings where appropriate, avoiding crowded places, cleaning hands regularly, keeping to 2m social distancing and self-isolating and seeking a test if experiencing symptoms such as loss of taste or smell and developing a new cough.”

“I would also advise local residents to shop locally as much as possible which helps support our High Streets and also minimises travel outwith the county. These are unprecedented and tough times but following health guidance will help us all out of the current restrictions.”

Published: Thursday, 29th October 2020