News that Scottish Borders is set to enter level 4 Covid restrictions, along with the rest of mainland Scotland, from Boxing Day will be a “bitter blow” for businesses in the region, according to South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.
The local MSP has said he will be pushing the Scottish Government to ensure as much as possible is done to support businesses, including those in the hospitality and many in the retail sector who will be forced to close from 26 December, for the duration of the level 4 lockdown.
Colin Smyth said: “The news that the Borders is set to enter into level 4 restrictions alongside the rest of mainland Scotland from 26 December will be a bitter blow for our struggling hospitality and retail businesses. People in the borders worked hard to ensure that restrictions were brought down to level 1, so a jump to near lockdown from Boxing Day will be frustrating.
“Hospitality has been hit especially hard by Covid-19 and unfortunately, along with much of retail now faces shutdown.
“I will be pushing the Scottish Government to ensure more support is offered to businesses.
“The new strain of Covid-19 is concerning and while people fundamentally understand why a new lockdown is required, it hasn’t been handled well by both of our governments who have left this announcement to the last minute, causing the maximum disruption.
“2020 has been a terrible year and I know that many people have been shocked and very upset by the news that their festive celebrations have been cut back. Since the announcement was made, my inbox has been full of very valid concerns from my constituents.
“One aspect of these news rules which people locally have raised with me is that the Scottish Government is allowing people to travel from all over Scotland on Christmas Day to spend time with their families, however, people in border communities are unable to cross the border to visit loved ones just a few miles away.
“If the Government has concluded that you can’t cross the border on Christmas Day, then people are rightly asking why you can travel to parts of Scotland with higher virus levels? If there is a concern at high levels of the new strain in London and the south of England, that’s an argument for travel controls from there, not necessary from Cumbria or Northumberland especially when we know the new strain is here in Scotland where there will be no travel restrictions on Christmas Day. It’s just another example of border communities being forgotten about when decisions are made by Governments in Edinburgh and London.”