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As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, residents in West Dunbartonshire have been encouraged to enjoy themselves responsibly and support local businesses where possible.

From today (Friday 16th April), outdoor meetings in groups of up to six adults from up to six households is now permitted in Scotland, and travel is allowed anywhere in Scotland to meet with friends or family for outdoor socialising, recreation and exercise.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced an early easing of lockdown as covid infection rates across the country continue to fall. In West Dunbartonshire, the 7 day covid positivity rate is at 24.7 cases per 100,000 – the lowest it has been for more than six months and below the current Scottish average of 34.3 cases per 100,000 people.

If progress in keeping the virus supressed continues, it’s expected that pubs, cafes and restaurants will begin a phased reopening from 26th April – along with shops, tourist accommodation, indoor gyms for individual exercise, libraries, museums and galleries.

Although in-home socialising is currently not permitted, it’s hoped that from 17th May it will be possible to ease restrictions further allowing up to four people from two households to meet indoors. Cinemas and bingo halls are also expected to be able reopen from the middle of next month, along with the resumption of adult contact sports.

West Dunbartonshire’s MP Martin Docherty-Hughes has welcomed the easing of restrictions, and urged residents looking forward to meeting-up with friends and family to stay safe by sticking to the guidelines still in place.

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:

“I welcome the First Minister’s announcement of an early easing of lockdown, and it’s important to note that this has only been possible thanks to everyone’s collective efforts these past months.

“In West Dunbartonshire and across Scotland, covid infection rates have fallen to their lowest levels in more than six months – thanks to the success of the vaccination programme and all those who have worked hard to stick to the rules.

“We’re all looking forward to being able to meet-up again with friends and family, and visiting our favourite shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants as they re-open.

“However, whilst we’re on the right track, we must continue to guard against complacency to avoid risking a return to stricter lockdown measures.

“As restrictions ease, I’d urge my constituents to enjoy themselves responsibly and support local businesses where they can. When meeting-up with others please do so outdoors for the time being, and follow physical distancing guidelines to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.”

The latest guidance on the easing of lockdown restrictions in Scotland is available on the Scottish Government’s website: www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-protection-levels/

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