COVID-19 Update – 14 September 2020
I hope you continue to find these updates useful and that they help with any questions you might have. I am ready to help you in whatever way we can particularly during these uncertain times.
Please find following a summary of some of the latest advice and information in response to the coronavirus pandemic. I know that some of the government advice will need to be interpreted and adjusted to work in the isles so please get in touch if I can answer any questions you may have.
For the time being I will be sending out updates when there significant developments. If you do not wish to continue receiving these updates please let me know. You can sign up for updates via my website homepage.
Alistair Carmichael MP
On 10 September the Scottish Government formally reviewed coronavirus restrictions. Scotland is to remain in Phase 3 of the route map out of lockdown.
A recent rise in coronavirus cases means the following measures have been put in place:
- Group gatherings will only be allowed to a maximum of six people from two households in both indoor and outdoor settings, with limited exemptions (becoming law from Monday 14 September).
- Face coverings must be worn in hospitality settings, apart from during the service of food and drink, with hospitality staff following the similar rules as retail staff (from Monday 14 September).
- Up to 20 people will still be able to attend funerals, weddings and civil partnerships ceremonies, with the limit permitted for wakes and receptions rising to 20 in line with this, as long as they take place in regulated venues like hotels with strict guidance in place (from Monday 14 September).
- Route map moves expected from Monday (14 September) are given a new indicative date of Monday 5 October 2020.
The following activities have an indicative re-start date of 5 October:
- Indoor sports courts for adults and young people (12+) for contact sports.
- Indoor soft play can re-open - following guidance (e.g. no ball pools, enhanced hygiene).
- Certain outdoor live events (e.g. those involving focussed standing) - with physical distancing, enhanced hygiene, and restricted numbers - following guidance.
- Certain indoor live events (seated and ambulant) - with physical distancing, enhanced hygiene and restricted numbers – following guidance.
- Other indoor entertainment venues - following guidance with physical distancing requirements (e.g. theatres, music venues). Not nightclubs.
- Stadia - limited re-opening - following guidance (e.g. physical distancing, restricted numbers) - with option for testing on earlier dates.
You can find the updated route map here.
Local measures remain in place in East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow City, Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire.
People living in these areas should not visit other households.
You can read more here.
Protect Scotland App
The Protect Scotland app has been launched. The app is an extra tool to support contract tracing and the Test and Protect system. It is free to download from Apple and Google stores and we would encourage you to do so.
Individuals' privacy will be protected as the app uses Bluetooth technology to anonymously alert users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and advises them to self-isolate. Users of the app who test positive will still get a call from a contact tracer to confirm their details and who they have been in close contact with.
The app does not store details on an individual or their location but uses encrypted, anonymised codes exchanged between smartphones to determine all close contacts. Close contacts are defined as people who have been within two metres of someone who has tested positive for 15 minutes.
You can find out more here.
You can find the up to date list of countries and territories that are exempt from quarantine following foreign travel here.
Recent changes mean people travelling from Hungary and La Reunion will have to quarantine if they arrive from 04.00 on 12 September.
Meanwhile Sweden will be removed from the quarantine list from 04.00 on 12 September.
Despite cross-party efforts to support sector-specific extensions to the furlough scheme it is looking increasingly likely that the programme will be shut down entirely in October. I am monitoring the situation and will continue to make representations to the government on this issue. If you have any specific questions about how this may affect you, please get in touch.
The government has launched the new Kickstart scheme providing funding to employers to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. The first placements are likely to be available from November.
Kickstart funding will cover:
- 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week.
- the associated employer National Insurance contributions.
- employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.
You can find further information about the scheme, including how to apply as an employer, here.
Eat Out to Help Out
The final day of Eat Out to Help Out was Monday 1st September – figures from the Treasury suggest that 26,000 meals were served under the scheme in Shetland alone, providing a significant boost to local restaurants and saving people £168,000 over the course of August. I have been glad to see the positive impact for local businesses despite the challenging environment.
What to do if you have symptoms?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- New and continuous cough.
- Fever/high temperature (37.8C or greater).
- Loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste (anosmia).
If you’ve developed symptoms you need to self-isolate for 10 days from the start of your symptoms and arrange to be tested even if you think your symptoms are mild. Residents of non-doctor islands should contact their local clinician.
If you live with other people they'll need to stay at home for 14 days from the start of your symptoms even if they don’t have symptoms themselves.
If you have symptoms that are causing serious concern call NHS 24 on 111 or dial 999 in an emergency.
If you require more information visit www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus or call the special helpline on 0800 028 2816. If you need a sick note due to coronavirus, you can get this from the NHS Inform website.
I will continue to run a phone surgery on Mondays and Thursdays between 13.00 and 14.00, for the next few weeks. Call the Orkney constituency office on 01856 876 541 and leave your name and number, and I will call you back as soon as I can.
You can email at: [email protected]
Phone: 01595 690 044