Commenting on the First Minister’s statement to the Scottish Parliament today (Thursday 10 September) on the next phase of lockdown easing, South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said: “The news that the Scottish Government are not only stalling on the plans to ease out of lockdown, but going backwards on many previous plans is a  sobering reminder that it is more important than ever that we take precautions to keep ourselves and our communities safe. We need to continue to act responsibly and use common sense.

“We should never lose sight of the fact this virus is still out there and ultimately saving lives is the most important consideration in everything we do.

“However, I know a lot of people will be feeling extremely disappointed and worried following the First Minister’s announcement.

“This will be felt particularly hard in the entertainment industry which was previously told that some indoor and outdoor live events could take place and the sector could slowly start operating again from mid September.

“I am extremely concerned that the entertainment sector is continuing to see hit after hit. The Scottish Government is going to have do all it can to ensure the whole industry doesn’t disappear, which would be a disaster thousands of jobs across the region.

“I am pleased that some progress has been made in allowing small wedding receptions , albeit limited to 20 people. It will be a slight ray of sunshine for a sector that has been utterly decimated and for couples who have had to put their big day on hold.”

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