A new report sets out the scale of activities in support of East Lothian’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other ongoing risks.
The report, presented at today’s meeting of East Lothian Council, underlines the unprecedented impact of the pandemic on the local community, partners and the delivery of services.
It details the ongoing interventions in support of containing the spread of the virus, at a time when the Council’s business continuity plans remain invoked in support of national guidance and public health measures.
It also highlights the financial impact of the pandemic, as well as the Council’s role in distributing Scottish Government funding in support of local businesses and communities.
The report goes on to acknowledge the encouraging progress being made in curbing the spread of the virus, with the ongoing rollout of the vaccination programme and community testing, underlining efforts to promote the importance of everyone continuing to follow public health advice and rules to keep themselves and local communities safe, as well as highlighting the importance of vaccine uptake and participation in testing.
The report also acknowledges concurrent risks related to the country’s departure from the European Union, winter emergency/adverse weather and coastal/countryside implications of easing of lockdown, and action taken in support of East Lothian’s recovery and renewal.
Recovery and renewal
The Council, the report highlights, remains well placed to support communities in terms of both ongoing response interventions and the journey towards recovery.
Proposals for the Council's Business Recovery Fund - focused on supporting town centre recovery and renewal, tourism and hospitality, the rural economy, employability and promotion of the county - were also approved.
Adapting to challenges
Sharon Saunders, Head of Communities, East Lothian Council:
“The implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities throughout East Lothian, and the delivery of local services, has been significant and profound.
“The report to Council gives a very comprehensive overview of the extent the impact the virus has had, both in terms of its prevalence in the community and its impact on services.
“Council staff, our partners and volunteers across our towns and villages have carried out remarkable work in adapting to these challenges, providing support for vulnerable people and helping each other through this unprecedented and difficult period.
"A massive amount of effort has gone into maintaining critical frontline services, as well as providing continued education provision, help and assistance for vulnerable people – including those who were shielding and the elderly – financial support for local businesses, and addressing challenges associated with local infrastructure and health, to name but a few.
“Throughout this time, there has been a huge amount of joint working and partnership with organisations at both a local and national level.
“At the same time, the Council has managed concurrent risks such as challenges associated with winter weather and monitoring issues associated with leaving the European Union.
“While very welcome progress is being made in reducing virus prevalence and the rollout of the vaccination programme, it remains a very difficult time and there is a need for everyone to continue playing their part in terms of compliance with the current restrictions and public health advice.
“The Council is maintaining a sharp focus on supporting our local communities and, as highlighted the report, ensuring that we remain resilient and emerge strongly from the pandemic.”