There is “no justification” for the Scottish Borders being placed in level 2 of the proposed new COVID alert system, according to South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.
The MSP was commented after Scottish Borders Council were told they were likely to be in level 2 even though the region is level 0 in four of the Government’s new criteria, and level 1 in one of the criteria, published yesterday.
Colin Smyth said: “Based on its own criteria, there is no justification for the Scottish Government placing Scottish Borders in level 2 on November 2, and the region should be in level 1. Based on the approach the Government is taking, it will be impossible for the Borders to ever be placed in level 0 and that will be deeply worrying for local people.
“Level 2 will mean more businesses in the borders will need to close, despite the First Minister claiming this level is similar to the restrictions facing the region right now.
“We were told the current limitations would be a short-term measure but level 2 looks set to be even tougher and for an indefinite period.
“Not only will businesses such as indoor soft play centres and theatres have to remain shut for even longer, but businesses currently able to open such as pool and snooker halls, as well as bowling alleys and some venues, will now need to close.
“Licensed premises will continue to be able to sell alcohol outside but the ban on selling alcohol inside will remain except “with a main meal” which will mean many pubs which don’t serve food and don’t have suitable outdoor areas will have to shut their doors.
“Hospitality has been hit very hard by the pandemic and without more government support, hospitality businesses will continue to suffer especially those pubs that don’t serve food or have an outside area. It will be galling for them knowing the region shouldn’t be at the high level of restrictions it is likely to be placed in.”