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First Minister's update to the Scottish Parliament - 18 January 2022 - Perthshire Chamber of Commerce

First Minister's update to the Scottish Parliament - 18 January 2022

The Scottish First Minister has provided an update to the Scottish Parliament. Following our discussions with Scottish Government officials we are able to confirm the statement confirms the following:

COVID-19 Stats:

Much more positive situation with the pandemic, latest data gives us confidence that we have turned a corner with Omicron.

7,752 positive cases reported yesterday.

1,546 hospitalisations with COVID-19.

59 people are currently intensive care.

A further 31 deaths have been reported, 10,093 deaths in total.

Public health measures and measures introduced in December appear to have been effective.

The rise in Omicron cases peaked in the first week of January, now on a downward slope of cases.

Full impact of the return to work and of schools not yet apparent in the data, still possible case numbers may tick up in the next few weeks.

Changes to restrictions:

FM confirms that limits on attendance capacity in indoor public events, the requirement for 1m physical distancing between different groups in indoor public places, the requirement for table service in hospitality settings serving alcohol on premises, will all be lifted from 24th January.

Nightclubs will also be able to reopen from next Monday.

Also removing guidance advising adults against non-professional indoor contact sports.

Also lifting guidance asking people to stick to a limit of three households on indoor gatherings.

Home working:

SG will continue to ask people to work from home where possible and for employers to facilitate this.

However, will engage with business on a more hybrid approach from the start of February.

Vaccine certification:

Very difficult decision for cabinet.

On the one hand, extending the scheme could reduce the risk of transmission and serious harm.

On the other hand, aware of the additional costs that extending the scheme would have on businesses.

Given the positive signs from case numbers, SG have decided not to extend the scheme to more premises.

This will be kept under review, could be a more proportional response to any rise in case numbers.

SG proposing one small change to the scheme: 

Nightclubs and other late night venues must apply the scheme if they have in use a designated area for dancing,  the definition of this is being tightened and will take effect from Monday.

 

Response to the First Minister’s statement.

Perthshire Chamber chief executive Vicki Unite said:

“It is encouraging that there has been a ‘significant fall’ in case numbers and the resultant easing of the restrictions from Monday.

“At last, there seems to be something positive for the hospitality and events industries in particular, and they can now start to plan ahead after a disastrous and punitive festive period.

“It is positive too that businesses will be invited by the Government to the table,  with the prospect of hopefully opening up more town and city centre offices and a greater number of people going back to work there rather than at home, but this needs to be done with utmost haste and not, as suggested, next month.

“With the possibility of a vaccine passport not being discounted for the hospitality industry, businesses are being forced to factor its associated costs into their financial forecasts, while no suggestion of financial support has been forthcoming.

“We would reiterate that businesses must be adequately compensated for any measures being forced on them, and we would urge – in the interests of safeguarding jobs and businesses - that this would happen immediately.”

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