Supporting our residents and businesses through Covid-19

The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced yesterday that restrictions were being reintroduced in Aberdeen due to a coronavirus outbreak in the city. The First Minister advised that pubs and restaurants in Aberdeen needed to close from 5pm last night.

Dumfries and Galloway Council and our partners in, the NHS and Police Scotland would like to reassure everyone that we continue to take all steps possible to provide protection to the public, whilst supporting our local businesses to remain open.

First and foremost, it is the responsibility of the individual to help stop the spread of COVID-19. People should remain vigilant, wash their hands as often as possible, wear face coverings when requested and maintain a physical distance. People must also provide clear and accurate details when requested on visits to restaurants and pubs. By following this guidance we not only help protect ourselves, our friends, our loved ones and our communities from COVID, but we also help to ensure these local businesses can function.

In addition to following these directions, it's very important that people self-isolate and arrange a test for COVID-19 if they experience any symptoms, which include a raised temperature, a new continuous cough and a change to or loss of sense of taste or smell. Two Mobile Testing Units are carrying out tests daily across the region.

The Test and Protect system ensures that anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus can quickly be tested to find out if they have the virus. It helps trace close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for coronavirus and notifies them if they must also isolate and arrange a test - helping to halt the spread. All pubs and restaurants are being asked to follow directions aimed at helping to stop the spread. Multi-agency teams are visiting local businesses and promoting compliance around Test and Protect, physical distancing and health and safety adaptations. Advice is available to businesses on required alterations and on the legislation.

Local businesses must do what they can to adapt, follow legislation and guidance and be aware of the health and safety of their customers and staff. If the multi-agency team believe that modifications are needed to allow for safe trading, or legislation is not being adhered to, we will use all powers necessary to address this.

Elaine Murray, Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, said:

"We all need to be extra vigilant at this time. We have already had a cluster of cases in our own region, and we must continue to work together to limit the chances of this happening again. The additional measures are there for everyone's protection. Although public health is our top priority, we will also do our upmost to support our local businesses to stay open. It is essential that people stay within our region, shop local and stay safe."

Jeff Ace, Chief Executive of NHS Dumfries and Galloway, said:

"We are still in a precarious position with regards to COVID-19 and we must guard against complacency. This is a highly transmissible virus with potentially devastating consequences and we have a population in Dumfries and Galloway which has had very little exposure and therefore has very little immunity. We have seen how quickly the virus can spread despite best preventative efforts, and so we would urge everyone to follow the guidance put in place to help protect us, our loved ones and our communities. Doing this also helps protect local businesses who are working hard to function and provide services during very difficult circumstances. We would also ask those businesses to work with agencies to ensure we have the best level of defence in place against this virus."

Chief Superintendent Linda Jones, divisional commander of Dumfries and Galloway, said:

"Aberdeen going into lockdown is a stark reminder that the virus is still very present and posing a threat to our communities. It also underpins the importance of continuing to follow the Scottish Government guidance.

"The Chief Constable has made it consistently clear that we all should take personal responsibility to do the right thing and remember the purpose of these measures is to aid the collective effort to stay safe, protect others and save lives by preventing the virus from spreading."