Responding to the Scottish Government’s update on lockdown levels for East Renfrewshire, Glasgow & Moray, Dr Liz Cameron OBE, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“Today’s announcement will bring a mixture of relief and anxiety. Whilst more businesses in Moray will now be able to open from midnight tonight and East Renfrewshire businesses will not have to close again, Glasgow businesses remain under strict trading and travel restrictions.

“The business community in Glasgow were handed a hammer blow last week and are deeply disappointed and disillusioned that more businesses could now reach crisis point as a result of these extended restrictions. The absolute priority must be to focus on managing these local outbreaks quickly to enable Scotland’s most populated city to open up, in line with the rest of the country.

“Businesses have invested heavily in COVID safe measures and equipment and want a fair opportunity to trade. They have created safe environments and need time to plan and rebuild confidence. To support restart efforts, we urge the Scottish Government to accelerate and expand the vaccination programme to as many people as possible, particularly in hotspot areas.

“The Scottish Government must ensure that adequate and targeted financial compensation is provided quickly. We also urge the UK Government to accept these outbreaks as special cases and be flexible with furlough criteria for businesses who have recruited new staff or have brought back their employees, they should be able to use the furlough scheme to protect jobs.”

On travel restrictions being imposed between Scotland and the three local authorities of Bedford, Bolton and Blackburn & Darwen in England, Liz Cameron said:

“We would continue to urge a 4-nations approach in containing outbreaks. If the evidence shows that restricting travel to local authority areas in the rest of the UK will suppress the virus spread, then we would expect to see restrictions removed as quickly as possible once the data allows.”

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