Everyone living and working in East Lothian must continue to be on their guard in the fight against COVID-19 when the county moves to Protection Level 2, the Depute Council Leader said today.

Norman Hampshire welcomed news that East Lothian would be moving to a less restrictive set of measures designed to reduce virus prevalence whilst minimising harm caused by the pandemic.

But he stressed that, while progress had been made in recent weeks, cases continued to be reported locally. As a result everyone must continue to adhere to government guidelines and follow public health advice to avoid a return to more significant restrictions.

It was announced today that East Lothian will move into COVID-19 protection level 2 from Tuesday, 24 November. The county is currently in level 3.

Councillor Hampshire said:

“The communities of East Lothian have had to make significant sacrifices over the course of recent months. We’re very grateful to everyone for their patience, understanding and co-operation.

“I know it has been very difficult for people and our communities and extremely challenging for the local businesses that are the beating heart of our towns and villages.

“In recent weeks we have been making the case for East Lothian to be placed in Protection Level 2 which, although it requires all of us to continue putting our normal lives on hold, is less restrictive and reflects the reduced prevalence of COVID-19 in the county. We appreciate the constructive engagement which there has been with us on this.

“While we welcome this announcement, I want to be very clear that this pandemic is far from over. We have made progress previously, only to see cases rise and further restrictions imposed.”

Councillor Hampshire highlighted the key aspects of Protection Level 2.

He added:

“I would ask that everyone in East Lothian pays very close attention to the requirements of Protection Level 2.

“There are still restrictions on social gatherings – for example you should not meet anyone who is not in your household indoors in your home or in their home.  And people are advised to minimise unnecessary journeys between areas in different levels and avoid any unnecessary travel to places in Level 3 or Level 4 areas. People living in Level 3 or 4 parts of the country should avoid unnecessary travel out of their area.

“Continue to observe FACTS, including wearing face coverings where recommended, avoiding crowded areas, washing hands regularly, keeping physical distancing and self-isolating if you develop symptoms such as the loss of taste and smell and a new persistent cough. Remember to book a test if you have symptoms and stay at home if you are asked to self-isolate.

“No matter how positive we feel recent announcements have been, we simply cannot afford to drop our guard.

“Everyone playing their part can make a difference. It can help us to support jobs, save lives, see more of our loved ones – and hopefully less of COVID-19.”

Read a summary of the Level 2 restrictions here.

Published: Tuesday, 17th November 2020