This Easter – Stay Local
As we begin to emerge from the current COVID-19 lockdown and the message changes from Stay Home to Stay Local, Highland agencies remind everyone they must still stay within their Local Authority boundaries.
Partners urge people to follow current Government advice on movement and gatherings. The current advice is:
- Stay local and use open spaces near to your home where possible - do not travel unnecessarily.
- Only groups of four from two households are permitted to get together outdoors (or four households for teenagers)
- If you are out and about in the council area, please be considerate of others and take your litter home with you
- Most public toilets are open, however campsites, tourist accommodation, and other hospitality and facilities remain closed across the Highlands until 26 April.
- Follow the outdoor access code https://www.visitscotland.com/see-do/active/outdoor-access-covid-19/
- When out and about please continue to follow the FACTS advice:
- FACE COVERINGS - Face coverings can provide extra protection to you and those around you. They’re mandatory in shops, workplaces and on public transport.
- AVOID CROWDS - Close proximity to others seriously risks spreading the virus, even outdoors.
- CLEAN HANDS - Clean hands and surfaces regularly. Wash hands with soap and water for 20+ seconds.
- TWO METRES DISTANCE - Keep at least 2m distance (6 feet) away from others, both indoors and outdoors, even when wearing a face covering.
- SELF-ISOLATE - Self-isolate and book a test immediately if you have coronavirus symptoms
Highland Council is issuing 5 top tips (graphic below) for businesses in order to minimise the spread of Covid-19 as they prepare to re-open in accordance with the Scot Gov timetable. The Council would urge all businesses to consider these top tips in conjunction with any relevant sector specific guidance published by the Scottish Government. Should any business require any further information or advice on re-opening please contact our Environmental Health team on firstname.lastname@example.org
Convener of The Highland Council, Cllr Bill Lobban said:
“We all have an important role to play in slowing the spread of Coronavirus and as we begin to emerge from lockdown, we must not become complacent. We are very fortunate in the Highlands to have wide open spaces and natural beauty, and while it is important to get time outdoors and maintain our physical and mental health, we must ensure we follow the current guidelines, Stay Local, and not put any additional pressure on the NHS at this time.
“While we would normally welcome tourists and visitors to the Highlands, you must not travel out with your council area. We look forward to welcoming you back from the end of April, when it is safe to do so. The hills, mountains and forests will still be here for everyone to enjoy at the right time.”
Chief Superintendent Conrad Trickett said: "The coronavirus regulations have had a significant impact on our lives and I would like to thank the vast majority of people who are sticking to the rules and doing the right thing to avoid the spread of the virus as we move through the easing of restrictions.
“People should not travel outwith their local authority area except for essential purposes. While Easter weekend is traditionally a time for visiting friends and family, I would urge people to stay local and follow the regulations on gatherings.
“If you are visiting beauty spots within your local area, do so safely and respectfully – leaving no trace of your visit. Please also park responsibly to allow emergency access.
"Our approach throughout the pandemic has been to engage with the public, explain the legislation and encourage compliance, but we will not hesitate to use our enforcement powers as a last resort."
NHS Highland’s Director of Public Health Tim Allison said:
“It is great that restrictions are beginning to relax. There are still cases of COVID in the area and we do need to be on our guard to stop virus cases increasing again. Let's stick with the measures to prevent spread and look for a gradual return to normal.”