£1 million funding for Aberdeen businesses affected by temporary measures
Non-licensed premises to reopen next week.
Restrictions on some Aberdeen premises will begin to be lifted from next week if the number of infections continues to fall, the First Minister has confirmed.
Subject to the continued suppression of the virus non-licensed hospitality in the city will be able to open from next Wednesday (26th August). A further review will be conducted on Sunday, with a view to setting out a timeline for the opening of licensed hospitality, the lifting of travel restrictions and limits on indoor meetings.
The First Minister chaired a SGORR meeting this morning with partners including Aberdeen City Council leaders, NHS Grampian and Police Scotland, and has announced a phased reopening for non-licensed premises from Wednesday alongside a £1 million support fund for local businesses affected by the measures.
The fund, which will be administered by Aberdeen City Council, will provide grants of £1,000 and £1,500 to those most affected and includes £100,000 of discretionary support for sectors not required to close by the regulations.
The latest figures show a total of 398 cases have been identified in the Grampian Health Board area since the 26th of July. Of these 226 are associated with the same cluster linked to Aberdeen pubs, and 1,141 contacts have now been identified from those.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“I am grateful to people in Aberdeen – the local authority and health board, local businesses, and everyone who lives there - for complying so well with the rules that we put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The evidence suggests the measures are working but it is too early to lift them at this current time if we want to maintain the progress that has already been made.
“I don’t take these decisions lightly and I recognise in particular, the impact that this is having on businesses in Aberdeen, particularly those impacted by the restrictions and required to close. That’s why today I announced a new £1m grant support scheme for businesses in Aberdeen City impacted by restrictions."
National Clinical Director Jason Leitch said:
“I have been impressed with how well Aberdeen has managed the restrictions, and the contact tracing efforts of the board have been world class. It is important that we continue to improve on the progress made by the city, which is why we would still like to see infection rates drop, before we fully lift all the current measures.
“It is important that everyone follows the FACTS rules because complying with these five rules remains the best possible way for all of us individually and collectively to keep this virus under control so we can move forward and get our economy, our society and our lives generally back to as much normality as possible.”
Susan Webb, Director of Public Health at NHS Grampian said:
"I would encourage everyone in Aberdeen to keep following the enhanced restrictions covering the city. More broadly, everyone in Grampian should keep observing physical distancing. Whether meeting indoors (where allowed) or outdoors, keeping a 2 metre distance from those not in your immediate household is a really simple way to halt the spread of this virus."
David Groundwater, FSB’s development manager for north east Scotland, said:
“The resilience and determination of the Aberdeen hospitality sector – and, indeed, the wider local economy – is being severely tested with weeks of no customers, no sales and no profits, which is why FSB welcomes the new £1m funding package for local businesses.
“FSB looks forward to working with Aberdeen City Council and the Scottish Government to ensure that businesses can access this support as quickly and easily as possible.”
Hospitality businesses, such as pubs, restaurants and cafés, will remain closed-although takeaways can remain open, and hotels can serve food to any residents. People in Aberdeen should not meet other households indoors or travel more than five miles for leisure or recreational purposes, and people from outside Aberdeen should avoid travel into the city unless they have to. The restrictions will be reviewed at least every seven days in discussion with local partners.
The Scottish Government has not ruled out extending restrictions if necessary to protect public health.
Read more information on local restrictions.
Remember FACTS for a safer Scotland:
F – Face coverings. These should be used in shops and on public transport (buses, trains and taxis)
A – Avoid crowded places.
C – Clean your hands frequently, using water & soap whenever possible.
T – Two metres – observe physical distancing.
S – Self-isolate and book a test if you are suffering from COVID-19 symptoms.
Details of the scheme and how to apply are to be published later this week and updates will be published on Aberdeen City Council’s website and through its communication channels.