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Lockdown latest

Reopening of offices and events venues delayed

Nicola Sturgeon: not yet time

Offices and live events will remain closed as the first minister said Scotland is not yet able to move to Phase 4 of the route map out of lockdown.

Nicola Sturgeon said a return to offices and more people travelling by public transport would “accelerate” the risk of infection.

The reopening of call centres and offices where staff are still working from home will be reviewed again on 1 October.

“For now, working from home will remain the default position,” she said.

The number of people allowed to meet up in Scotland has been cut to six in line with England.

“I am aware of the impact of long-term home working on many businesses and employees – and also on shops, cafes and bars which normally attract trade from office workers,” she told parliament.

The Scottish government is working with the Scottish Chambers of Commerce and the STUC to plan for a safe, phased reopening of these remaining offices when circumstances allow, she said.

On live events, she said: “We cannot at this stage risk the new opportunities for transmission of Covid that reopening further services and facilities would entail.”

The new indicative date for their resumption is Monday 5 October.

“However, I must stress that this remains an indicative date – a final decision can only be taken nearer the time,” she said

The current situation is that:

  • spectators will not be able to return to sports stadia and other venues over the next three weeks
  • the two pilot events due to take place this weekend will proceed.
  • the other services and venues affected by this pause are theatre, live music venues, indoor soft play facilities and indoor contact sports activities for people aged 12 and over
  • in addition, outdoor events that have not yet been given the green light cannot yet restart

The Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland is urging the Scottish Government to detail a standard package of financial help for firms forced to close in the event of a local lockdown. The UK Government detailed such a package for firms in England. 

Andrew McRae, policy chairman for the FSB Scotland, said: “Innovative new help might be required for those firms currently facing a footfall-drought through no fault of their own.

“Aberdonian businesses forced to close during their local lockdown were grateful for the grant support provided by the Scottish Government.

“To give some reassurance to firms facing an uncertain autumn and winter, we need to see Ministers in Edinburgh confirm that a similar package will be rolled out whenever businesses are forced to shut up shop.”

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