On Tuesday (3 August) the First Minister announced that the majority of restrictions will be removed on 9 August, including the need to physically distance in most settings and for close contacts of those who test positive for COVID to self-isolate, as long as they’re fully vaccinated. Close contacts aged five to 17 will need to take a PCR test, but if it tests negative will also no longer need to self-isolate, meaning the blanket isolation of whole school classes will no longer be required.
Over the coming days, plans will be drawn up for services across the City of Edinburgh Council in response to the changes, such as schools, community centres and libraries, as well as services like licensing, which will provide support and advice to businesses adjusting to new guidance.
However, the use of face coverings will continue in some public spaces and people are being encouraged to take care by getting tested regularly. Leaders have also urged everyone to take up their offer of a vaccination if they have not done so already, young people in particular, to help keep case numbers down and the city on track for recovery.
Council Leader Adam McVey said:
The latest announcement from the First Minister will be extremely welcome news for many, not in the least the businesses across the city who have shown an enormous amount of skill and resilience over the last year and a half.
The removal of physical distancing and changes to rules on self-isolation will of course impact on Council services too and allow the return of more normality to local services. Over the coming days and weeks we’ll be drawing up plans to support services to respond to this and to further assist our economy’s recovery.
However, the COVID virus is very much still with us and I appreciate the First Minister’s careful and steady approach. We need to do everything we can to limit its continued spread and we all have our part to play. For everyone eligible to get vaccinated, please do so if you haven’t yet. With vaccinations now being given to everyone aged 18 and over, it’s essential that young people get theirs as well if we are to keep enjoying this gradual return to normality. The NHS has made getting a vaccination quick and easy wherever you are in the city. We’ll be working with the NHS to drive home the importance of getting both jabs and helping inform people about the easiest way to get them.
Depute Leader Cammy Day said:
It’s extremely heartening to hear that COVID cases and hospitalisations continue to fall, as more and more people take up their offer of a vaccination. It’s thanks to this, and to all those who have been so carefully following the rules throughout the pandemic, that restrictions can now be reduced across the country.
And while the freedoms being returned to us are welcome news, we must not put the sacrifices made over the last year and a half to waste. By continuing to practice good hand hygiene, wear face coverings and, where possible, avoid crowded spaces, as well as regular testing – even if you don’t have symptoms – we can limit the ongoing impacts of this virus, and support the city’s safe recovery.
Community test centres and mobile test centres are open for people with no COVID-19 symptoms – full details are available online.
Find out more about Council services during the pandemic on the Council website.
More information on the changes to COVID restrictions can be found on the Scottish Government’s website.