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Reiterating the First Minister’s warning to the hospitality sector, Highland MSP Maree Todd has urged Highland businesses to ‘stick with strict hygiene measures and contact tracing’ or risk further closures.

In the Scottish Government’s daily press briefing on Tuesday [28/07/20], the First Minister issued a stark warning to the hospitality sector, in which she addressed the small minority of businesses who are not following current public health guidance. If Scotland sees outbreaks linked to the hospitality sector, Nicola Sturgeon cautioned that the Scottish Government would be forced to take action by shutting down premises.

Referencing the worrying rise of the virus globally, and an indication of a second wave in parts of Europe, Maree Todd MSP said:

“This month, the Highlands re-opened its doors to tourists, a measure which understandably, has left many Highland residents feeling very anxious, especially as we hear reports of a possible second wave of the virus in parts of Europe.

“The hospitality sector bears 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 & Protect service.

The gathering of contact information from customers by hospitality businesses, in a secure and safe manner, will assist NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect service to identify any clusters of cases, contact those who may have been exposed to the virus, and request 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 adds:

“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.”

In highlighting that the vast majority of businesses in the hospitality sector in the Highlands are doing a fantastic job, Ms Todd said:

“I’ve visited several Highland businesses in recent weeks who I can see have taken public health advice on board and have implemented preventative measures in the interest of keeping their customers, employees and their communities – many of which are fragile – 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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