Aberdeen is to stay in lockdown for a further week, but First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that her aim is to have it re-open next Wednesday if all goes to plan. Aberdeen City Council wanted the restrictions to be lifted today and has come out publicly and disagreed with the Government’s decision. But The First Minister said, ” I respect the Councils decision but respectively disagree with it. The situation is on a cusp and fragile and if we move too quickly the danger is we tip it back the way.”
Ms Sturgeon did, however, announce a £1m fund for Aberdeen businesses which will see £1,500 go to all hospitality businesses which are closed and which will be administered by the City Council.
The news comes following the creation of the cities newly created licensed trade forum – Aberdeen Hospitality Together. Said the First Minister, “This is a difficult decision and as I am accountable for these decisions I will err on side of caution. She also said, “The overall objective of Government is to get the restrictions lifted as quickly as possible. It is a difficult balance to strike. There clearly is an improving picture but signs are still there that give us cause for concern. The levels of transmission not associated by the original cluster – says to me we need to take a further few days for certainty. We hope from this time next week start to lift restrictions – ahead of next Wednesday greater certainty. The Councils view is that it wants a quicker lifting of restrictions.”
The situation will be reviewed midweek on Sunday.
With regard to the funding, Ms Sturgeon said, “We are making this money available immediately. But regarding further support being made available – we do have restrictions on the totality of money available to us.”
The briefing came immediately after an announcement by Aberdeen City Council who said it would not be supporting the further lockdown. Local radio station North Sound, revealed that the Council had warned of up to 5,000 job losses with Councillor Jenny Laing Co-Leader Aberdeen City Council saying, “At our meeting with Scottish Government officials yesterday we heard from the local COVID-19 Outbreak Incident Management Team that they believed the situation is now under adequate control.
“I can confirm that the Council is ready to make these site-specific assessments to allow businesses to open.
A total of 398 cases of Covid-19 have been identified in the Grampian area since July 26, with 226 of these associated with the cluster linked to Aberdeen pubs. Only one pub, The Hawthorn, NHS Grampian have confirmed was asked for customer contact details for Test and Protect.
At the daily briefing, Dr Gregor Smith Scotland’s chief medical officer suggested one of the reasons for caution was that they said that they had not been “able to establish a link with non-associated cases in Aberdeen.”
Stuart McPhee, Director of Siberia told DRAM. “It’s a mixed bag. I am glad of the financial support and I would like to assume she is doing a good job on the whole but I feel in isolation just now with her reference to other clusters in city not related to original cluster. It is the first I have heard of this and I live here. What will be will be – find out more on Sunday.”