Jenny Gilruth MSP’s column in the Glenrothes Gazette and East Fife Mail – 15 July 2020

Published date : 15 Jul 2020

Few of us could have predicted when we entered lockdown on 23 March that we would still be subject to many restrictions 17 weeks later. At the beginning of lockdown, we were told that life should not feel normal. Now we are adjusting to a new normal.

 

Further restrictions are being lifted this week after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed on Thursday that we can move forward to phase 3 of the Scottish Government’s route map.

 

As they could on Leven high street last week, non-essential retailers were able to reopen in Glenrothes’ Kingdom Shopping Centre this week. Regardless of where you choose to shop, it is now mandatory to wear a face covering. On my first visit to the shops since the measure was announced, I was impressed by the near 100% compliance.

 

By wearing a face covering you are helping to protect others by reducing the risk of transmission indoors. Face coverings do not make you invincible, though, which is why following physical distancing and other guidelines remains vitally important. We have made real progress to suppress the virus, but it still poses a threat. This is the new normal.

 

From today, hairdressers and barbers can reopen. I know I won’t be alone in looking forward to my appointment in the coming days. (My cocker spaniel, Brodie, was able to get in ahead of me for a trim last week!)

 

Holiday accommodation also reopens today for those lucky enough to take a staycation. The Scottish Parliament is not taking its usual approach to summer recess this year. Instead, there are several virtual and hybrid sessions, which MSPs can attend in person or remotely, for the Scottish Government to update us on its response to Covid-19. I’ll be in Parliament on 30 July when the First Minister announces the next review of lockdown measures.

 

Traditionally, I spend summer recess holding advice surgeries in communities around my Mid Fife and Glenrothes constituency as well as meeting with local businesses and organisations to support and promote their work.

 

This summer will be slightly different. I am continuing to hold regular telephone advice surgeries for constituents on Mondays and Fridays from 11.00 am and most meetings will still be held virtually rather than in person. Please email me at Jenny.Gilruth.msp@parliament.scot or call my constituency office on 01592 764815 to make an appointment.

 

In previous columns, I have talked about the many impacts of Covid-19 on our people, communities and businesses. I have been helping constituents to deal with these impacts every day since the start of lockdown. My office has seen a huge year on year increase in casework – up 734% in March and around three times more contacts each month since. It is a trend I expect will continue for as long as the virus challenges our way of life. If Covid-19 is affecting you, please remember you are not alone, and you can get in touch for help.

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