Covid: Plea for help for East Dunbartonshire businesses

A plea has gone out for more help for businesses as Covid cases surge in the area.

Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer, who lives in Bearsden

East Dunbartonshire presently has the fifth highest number of positive Covid cases in Scotland’s 32 local authority areas, as fears rise over the new omicron variant.

The latest information from Public Health Scotland shows that in the week up to December 11, the area had 603 cases per 100,000 in the area. The Scottish average is presently 453.

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As shops and hospitality venues prepare to follow new restrictions bringing back physical distancing and screens, Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer who lives in Bearsden, has called on the UK government to reintroduce the furlough scheme.

He said it is needed so that Scotland can take greater protective measures against the omicron variant whilst protecting jobs.

It is also needed he said, to support workers and businesses already suffering due to a significant loss in trade and closures caused by local outbreaks,

The MSP told the Herald: "Omicron is spreading fast and requires a decisive response from all levels of government.

"The festive period is already disrupted, with many people understandably cancelling planned social events, resulting in significant losses of income for bars and restaurants across the area.

"It’s time for the UK Government to act responsibly and reintroduce furlough where it is needed, both to protect jobs and to help reduce the spread of omicron.

“And unlike the previous furlough scheme, this time it must include all self-employed people, millions of whom were left without any support throughout the past 18 months.

"This, alongside an increase in Statutory Sick Pay, will be essential over the coming weeks.”

Without greater economic support, he said, the mitigation options available to the Scottish and Welsh governments, and Northern Irish Executive are limited.

Yesterday (Wednesday) deputy first minister John Swinney urged people to take "the greatest of care" over household mixing.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 314 registered Covid deaths locally.