Moray businesses can rejoice today as First Minister today announces that the county will go down from Level 3 to Level 2 from midnight tonight.
Ms Sturgeon said she had been paying close attention to Moray over the past week in her announcement today and reported that case rates had dropped significantly from 98 to 37 per 100,000.
Local hotelier Julia Kenny from the Cluny Bank Hotel in Forres, said: “We are extremely relieved to be able to open again and looking forward to being able to welcome visitors to Moray. This is good news for the area and businesses that have waited a long time to operate at less restrictive levels.”
Roddy Burns, chief executive of Moray Council paid tribute to the response.
“It’s hugely welcome news that Moray will move to Level 2 from midnight and I pay tribute to the community, NHS and council colleagues for their response to the increased and enhanced testing and accelerated vaccination programmes. Thanks also to our vibrant business community for their support and forbearance as we overcame this challenge together.
“The move to Level 2 means so much to so many: our residents, who can make the most of more freedoms including the simple pleasures of hugging their loved ones and socialising indoors; visitors, who will be warmly welcomed and who we ask they enjoy Moray safely and responsibly; and businesses, who are ready and waiting to throw open their doors as restrictions ease.
“This outbreak in Moray has brought it home how easy it is for the virus to run out of control. We all have a responsibility to play our part in reducing the risk of transmitting Coronavirus, our progress is welcome but fragile. If you test positive, financial and practical support is available for you; we know self-isolation is tough but it’s critical. Please also continue to work from home if you can, follow FACTS, continue with regular testing and roll up your sleeve when it’s your turn for your second dose of the vaccine.”
MSP Richard Lochhead said: “The decision to allow Moray to move into level two will no doubt come as a huge relief to people in our local communities.
“I want to thank everyone in Moray who, over the last few weeks, have gone the extra mile to get case numbers down and to help return us to a more stable position. I also want to pay huge tribute to our local health workers who have done a phenomenal job in rolling out additional testing and accelerating vaccinations for adults in Moray – the efforts of our public health team over the last few weeks has been phenomenal.
“I’m sure people in Moray will be delighted by the easing of restrictions and I hope that everyone will enjoy having more freedom. However, I would urge everyone to continue to be very careful – the last few weeks have shown us that Moray isn’t immune from community outbreaks and we all need to stick to the guidance to keep Moray safe.”
Relaxed restrictions now mean that from tomorrow (Saturday 22 May):
- Up to 6 people from 3 different households can meet indoors. This includes overnight stays and you do not have to physically distance from people when meeting in private homes.
- Up to 8 people from 8 different households can meet outdoors.
- Up to 6 people from 3 different households can meet indoors in a public place, such as a café or restaurant.
- Travel to areas in Level 1 and Level 2 is permitted, but not to areas in Level 3 unless for an essential reason.
- Travel between Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland allowed.
- All shops, stores and close contact services can open.
- Hospitality venues like pubs, cafés and restaurants can open until 10:30pm (indoors, alcohol permitted) and under local licensing laws (outdoors, alcohol allowed).
- Cinemas, theatres, concert halls, music venues, comedy clubs, amusement arcades, bingo halls, casinos, snooker/pool halls and bowling alleys can open.
- Weddings and funerals (including post-funeral events and receptions) can take place with up to 50 people.
As me move to Level 2, you should continue to be cautious, take up the offer of testing and vaccination and remember FACTS:
F – Face coverings
A – Avoid crowded places
C – Clean hands & surfaces regularly
T – Two metre distance
S – Self-isolate and get tested if displaying symptoms