Fife Chamber asks where the evidence is to support further restrictions

21st December

Following the latest update from the First Minister that confirmed further measures from Boxing Day to curb Omicron transmission, Alan Mitchell, Chief Executive of Fife Chamber of Commerce, said:

“We can perhaps be relieved that the new restrictions don’t go as far as many of us feared and thankful that there is at least some additional money available to help the businesses most affected.

“But they still represent a huge blow to the hospitality and event businesses they fall on and we are still all left wondering just what additional measures might subsequently be introduced to tackle the, yet unsubstantiated, threat of Omicron.

“The Scottish Government does not know it will definitely push up rates of hospitalisation, serious illness or death: if it had such evidence, it would have released it.

“Looking ahead, it should not impose further restrictions unless the harm caused by higher transmission of Omicron will exceed the harm caused by additional restrictions.

“Two years into this pandemic we know that stop/start lockdowns and restrictions damage mental health, fracture communities and families, harm education, create a huge backlog of NHS treatment, put companies out of business, threaten jobs and livelihoods and push the public finances into the danger zone.

“They must all be modelled and subject to expert scrutiny and comment to the same extent that Omicron transmission and hospitalisation rates are. They effect too many people to be ignored or paid lip service to.

“The Scottish Government can only make informed decisions that will have full public support and fulfil their core responsibility to protect their citizens from harm when it takes account of all the relevant information before deciding what the appropriate course of action is.”

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