The soon to be introduced five-tier system of Covid-19 restrictions announced on Friday by the Scottish Government raises more questions than answers, according to South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.

The system, which operates from 0 to 4, has an extra two tiers compared to the system being used south of the border.

The local MSP has criticised the failure to include what criteria will be used to determine which tier each local area will be in. He also believes the lack of detail in the framework will be particularly problematic for the hospitality sector in the south of Scotland which has already been hit very hard during the pandemic, including stating time restrictions could apply but providing no details of what those restrictions could be.

Contrary to claims, the Scottish Parliament will not have a vote on the introduction of the framework but will simply be asked to note the criteria.

Colin Smyth said: “As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, people understand cases are on the rise across Scotland and restrictions are likely for some time to come but the Government’s confusing five-tier system does raise more questions than answers.

“Given the variation in levels across the country, with lower rates in rural areas, a local approach is appropriate, and I think there is a strong case for Dumfries and Galloway to be in tier 1.

“But we need more openness from the Government, with full transparency over the criteria they will use to decide which tier each area will be in and crucially what needs to be done in an area to ensure they can move to a lower tier.

“If restrictions are to be respected, they must carry credibility – and have public buy in but we know adherence to the rules is worryingly on decline and people are increasingly asking to see the evidence for the Government’s specific choices which has just not been forthcoming.

“The hospitality sector has been hit hard by Covid-19 and the extension of current restrictions for another long week while the tier system is being worked out, has been a real blow particularly given the paltry level of financial support. They understandably feel they have been made a scapegoat for the current rise in cases.”

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