South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said: “This slight easing of the lockdown will be welcome by many people but it is fraught with dangers. Lots of people have been in touch with me about issues such as recycling centres, garden centres and golf courses so they will be relieved.

“But if everyone now rushes to take advantage of the changes then that will cause huge problems and we will soon find ourselves back in lockdown. People need to act responsibly, use common sense and remember that this pandemic has killed many people in our region and ultimately saving lives is the most important consideration in everything we do.

“The big change in the Governments approach is that much of what has been announced is a request rather than a rule and in some cases that makes sense. For example if the five mile limit for travel for exercise was a rigid rule, it would mean that the whole of the town of Dumfries would be able to go as far as Mabie Forest but no further and that would be a recipe for chaos.

“It is far safer for people in a rural area to be able to go just a little bit further to ensure we avoid large crowds being in one location. However, for most people in our region they will still be able to go somewhere for exercise without having to travel at all and that should still be our aim.  We need to remember that some communities in popular visitor spots will be worried that there could be a big increase in visitor numbers, so I would urge people to bear that in mind.

“There will also be many people disappointed that the lockdown hasn’t been eased more, especially some businesses. For those who run shops that still can’t open and pubs and restaurants, easing out of lockdown for them is still a long way off and they will be worried about their future. That’s why I’ll be keeping the pressure on the Government to provide more support for businesses in our region.”

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