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Ross-shire MSP Kate Forbes welcomes First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's latest measures to curb coronavirus pandemic and 'targeted' approach that helps Highland hospitality trade


By Hector MacKenzie

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Kate Forbes MSP has welcomed confirmation from the First Minister that hospitality businesses in the Highlands can continue to operate to an extent over the school October holidays –but appealed to residents to comply fully with the new restrictions.

New measures announced today by the Scottish Government, which will apply to the Highland region, include:

* All food and drink premises can open indoors between 6am and 6pm with no sale of alcohol (hotel restaurants will be able to operate beyond 6pm, but only for residents and without alcohol)

* Licensed premises may open outdoors including the sale of alcohol

* Regulation for mandatory face coverings in indoor communal and social settings, such as corridors and canteens

“This is a difficult time – of that, there is no question. It is vitally important that we all comply with the restrictions so that these new measures have the required impact and we can return to some semblance of normality as quickly possible.”

According to the latest available information from Public Health Scotland, the Highland region has had 55 cases over the past week (September 29 to October 5) and a seven-day positive rate per 100,000 of population of 23.3.

In Glasgow, there have been 1425 cases during the same period and a seven-day positive rate of 225.1.

There are additional restrictions for the central belt, which accounts for roughly 75 per cent of Scotland’s positive tests.

Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said: “I support the fact that these measures recognise the particular challenges in the central belt and don’t impose all of the same restrictions on a national basis.

“I welcome the more differentiated, targeted approach to restrictions, particularly when the figures are lower in the Highlands.

“As it is the October holidays, and tourism accommodation businesses in the Highlands are reliant on trade, this also allows for hospitality businesses to continue to operate to an extent and for accommodation like self-catering to welcome guests.

“This is a difficult time – of that, there is no question. It is vitally important that we all comply with the restrictions so that these new measures have the required impact and we can return to some semblance of normality as quickly possible.”

Your view? Email hector.mackenzie@hnmedia.co.uk

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