South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has commented on the First Minister’s latest Covid-19 statement. Nicola Sturgeon updated MSPs in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday afternoon.

The First Minister said that for three weeks from 26 December, limits will be placed on numbers able to attend both indoor and outdoor events. This does not apply to life events such as weddings, but it will mean that sports matches will be effectively spectator free for that period.

The First Minister also announced that from 27 December, again for a three week period, there will be a requirement for table service only to be reintroduced for venues serving alcohol for consumption on the premises

Colin Smyth said: “In light of the huge spike in cases due to the new variant across Scotland, we all have a role to play in slowing the spread – by getting our booster vaccination, taking lateral flow tests, and using our judgement.

“However, many pubs, restaurants and other businesses were already reporting huge numbers of cancellations and no-shows in the past couple of weeks, resulting in a massive loss of income at what is usually their busiest time of year.

“The economy in the south of Scotland is dominated by the tourism and the hospitality industries, both of which have been hit enormously by the pandemic and lockdowns, and many of which have had had no chance to recover.

“We need the Scottish and UK Governments to work together to support local businesses but sadly the announcements from the Chancellor on funding simply don’t go far enough.

“We also need an increase in the level of statutory sick pay and better support for those on low incomes who have to self-isolate.  No-one should have to think twice about self-isolating due to financial pressures.”

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