Following the First Minister’s address to the Scottish Parliament on the 17th November, Renfrewshire has been moved into Tier 4 with the public being asked to stay at home where possible, and continue to be increasingly vigilant and careful so as to slow the spread of coronavirus within the community and protect the NHS.
The decision to move Renfrewshire and neighbouring local authorities into Tier 4 is due to no sustained improvement in the number of cases over the last week, continued evidence of projected pressure on the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board, and in anticipation of winter pressures so as to ensure there is sufficient NHS capacity to meet demand.
Like with Tier 3, anyone living in Renfrewshire must not travel outside the local authority area unless travelling for essential reasons such as work, healthcare, or caring responsibilities, and indoor visits to any household outside your own or extended household is prohibited.
Tier 4 level restrictions also mean all non-essential shops must close along with cafes, restaurants, pubs, hairdressing and beauty salons, and all other leisure facilities which were allowed to remain open – albeit under select circumstances – in Tier 3.
While this is not the decision the First Minister wanted to make, these further restrictions are necessary in light of the increase in positive COVID-19 cases and those admitted to hospital over the past week.
First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said:
“I am acutely aware that for many individuals and businesses these decisions will be disappointing and distressing. They demand more sacrifice from all of us.
“However they are necessary to ensure that the NHS can cope with the range of pressures it will face over the winter, and will give us the best possible chance – albeit in a limited and careful way – of being able to ease restrictions in all parts of Scotland for Christmas.
“We must get through the next few months as safely as possible – and that means tough decisions can’t be avoided, no matter how much you, and I, fervently wish they could be.
“Notwithstanding the difficult decisions today for significant parts of the country, the levels system is still allowing us to avoid a national, one size fits all lockdown such as is currently in place in England. In order to sustain this it is essential that we all abide by travel restrictions and to underline how important this is, I can confirm that the guidance that has been in place in recent weeks will become law from Friday.
“I can never thank everyone enough for all the sacrifices that are being made. And I will never underestimate how difficult it is. But I hold to the belief that love and solidarity – albeit with a lot of help from science – we will get us through this. And that soon we will be looking back on it, not living through it.”
Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, said:
“While I know this is not what anyone in our town was hoping for, I am sure we can all agree that it is vitally important that we get the rising number of cases under control as quickly as possible so as to protect our health service coming into winter, and protect our friends, families, and loved ones from becoming unwell.
“The next three weeks will undoubtedly be challenging but the hope is that introducing tighter restrictions now will allow us to have a bit of respite over Christmas and the festive period – and I know that will give solace to many who are struggling right now.
“It is crucial as we move forward to continue to think of FACTS in everything that we do, and to follow the updated guidance and restrictions to the letter.
“Our tiered system in Scotland allows for a more tailored approach to the blanket lockdown we experienced back in March so it is imperative that we do not breach the travel restrictions that will become law on Friday.
“Although we are now living with tier 4 in Paisley, we must not leave the Renfrewshire area to take advantage of the lower restrictions in other parts of the country as this would only selfishly put other local authorities’ progress in jeopardy – and in turn effect the whole country and our collective hopes for an easier festive period. “To echo the First Minister, I know things may seem bleak right now but the end of this pandemic is within our grasp if we all come together and do our part for the good of the nation.”