The Scotsman

Pubs lock­down ‘must be on the ta­ble’ as cases con­tinue to rise

- By KA­TRINE BUSSEY Scottish National Party · Nicola Sturgeon · Scotland · Scottish Government · Aberdeenshire

An SNP coun­cil­lor has urged Ni­cola Stur­geon to con­sider clos­ing down Scot­land’s pubs to curb the spread of coron­avirus.

With the num­ber of new cases of Covid-19 on the rise, Chris Mce­leny said keep­ing bars open is “not com­pat­i­ble” with ef­forts to con­trol the virus.

Mr McE­leny, who has served as SNP group leader on In­ver­clyde Coun­cil, said if the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment wants to keep peo­ple safe and schools open full-time “the de­ci­sion to reim­pose lock­down restric­tions on all pubs must now be on the ta­ble”.

He made the plea after Sun­day’s fig­ures showed Scot­land had recorded 208 new coron­avirus cases – the high­est daily in­crease in pos­i­tive tests since May.

Hos­pi­tal­ity was one of the hard­est hits sec­tor soft he econ­omy when lock down was im­posed in March, with pubs, restaurant­s and cafes all forced to shut their doors.

An eas­ing of restric­tions has al­lowed them to open back up again – al­though bars in Aberdeen were closed again for a pe­riod after a spike in coron­avirus cases in the city.

Mr Mce­leny said while he sup­ports “in­no­va­tive” mea­sures to sup­port busi­nesses it is “not com­pat­i­ble to have pubs across the coun­try open when we are see­ing new cases at a rate that pre­vi­ously we were in a coun­try wide lock­down to get them un­der con­trol”.

He said: “If we want to keep safe, keep schools open full time and make work­places more pro­duc­tive again, the de­ci­sion to re im­pose lock­down restric­tions on all pubs must now be on the ta­ble.

“If we work hard now to con­tinue to stick to the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ments phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing mea­sures then we can play our part in stop­ping the spread of the virus.”

The coun­cil­lor, who has pre­vi­ously run to be SNP de­pute leader, added :“Pubs be­ing open has clearly de­sen­si­tised our cau­tion, with peo­ple reg­u­larly ask­ing why can I not visit a fam­ily mem­ber, why can I not go to a fu­neral, when pubs are full across the coun­try?

“You can stick to party lines on that point but the re­al­ity is peo­ple are right and for as long as pubs are open peo­ple will act like the virus has gone away and that will only re­sult in new cases in­creas­ing again on a daily ba­sis.”

 ??  ?? Chris Mce­leny said peo­ple ques­tioned reopen­ing of pubs
Chris Mce­leny said peo­ple ques­tioned reopen­ing of pubs

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