Todd calls on Highland businesses to stick with hygiene rules and contact tracing
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Highlands and Islands MSP Maree Todd has urged businesses in the region to stick with strict hygiene measures and contact tracing – or risk further closures.
The SNP politician said she was keen to reiterate Nicola Sturgeon’s warning to the hospitality sector.
In her daily press briefing on Tuesday, the First Minister addressed the issue of a small minority of businesses failing to follow public health guidance. Ms Sturgeon cautioned that if Scotland sees outbreaks linked to the hospitality sector the Scottish Government will be forced to take action by shutting down premises.
Ms Todd said: “This month the Highlands reopened its doors to tourists – a measure which understandably has left many residents feeling very anxious, especially as we hear reports of a possible second wave of the virus in parts of Europe.
“The hospitality sector has an important role in ensuring the virus stays suppressed to low levels here in the Highlands and across Scotland, and this is why strict hygiene measures and contact tracing is absolutely vital.”
The Scottish Government’s advice concerning contact tracing is that any hospitality businesses serving customers who remain on the premises while engaging with the business should gather minimal contact details from customers to support NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect service.
The gathering of contact information will help the Test and Protect service to identify any clusters of cases, contact those who may have been exposed to Covid-19 and ask them to take appropriate steps to prevent the potential onward spread of the virus. This could involve asking individuals to self-isolate for 14 days.
Ms Todd said: “This is a challenging time for the hospitality sector as it seeks to recover from the economic disruption caused by Covid-19. The last thing anyone wants to see is places being forced to shut due to complacency from the minority.
“If you feel uncomfortable in any premises, and you feel that protective hygiene measures and contact tracing are not being effectively used, simply leave and spend your money in a place where you feel safe.”
Emphasising that the vast majority of businesses in the hospitality sector in the Highlands "are doing a fantastic job", Ms Todd added: "I’ve visited several Highland businesses in recent weeks that I can see have taken public health advice on board and have implemented preventative measures in the interests of keeping their customers, their employees and their communities safe. Consumer confidence will be key for business recovery and I’m certain the vast majority understand this.
“People across Scotland have worked incredibly hard for the freedoms we are now enjoying today, so let’s keep at it and continue to keep the virus at bay.”
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