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Council's response to Scottish Government’s Covid 19 Strategic Framework

28th October 2020

A Special Meeting of The Highland Council took place today (Wednesday 28 October 2020) to allow all Members to come together to formally consider and debate Scotland's Strategic Framework for Covid 19.

Following debate Members supported Highland being placed in Tier 1 as it stands in the strategic framework document which would allow home visiting. This was in line with the views expressed by NHS Highland's Director of Public Health.

The Council also agreed that a highland-wide approach should be taken and the area be treated as one and not sub-divided.

Members also considered the question of travel restrictions from areas with Level 3 or above. Opinion on this was split with 30 members supporting the Scottish Government travel restrictions and 28 saying they did not. This very close result will be reflected in the response fed back to the Scottish Government.

Finally, in terms on how messages should be communicated to member of the public and council staff, members were unanimous in saying that messaging must be concise and should be led and co-ordinated by the Scottish Government.

Convener, Cllr Bill Lobban thanked members for their contribution to the debate. He said: "We welcome this opportunity to feed back to the Scottish Government our views, so I thank members for taking part in what I felt was a very good and positive debate. I would also like to thank our communities and members of their public as compliance with the current restrictions is very high.

"What came across loud and clear during our debate is that clarity for everyone is needed. The protection of the people of the Highlands must be our main priority and everyone wants a clear and simple to understand message on what current restrictions are and why they are in place. Our response will now go directly to the Scottish Government who will be debating the framework tomorrow."

Councillor Margaret Davidson added: “Home visiting is part of our culture in the Highlands, especially in our more rural communities where there are not facilities such as cafes for folk to meet up in so I am pleased the majority of members backed the simple tier 1 option.

She added: “It is reassuring that the Scottish Government will be giving the commitment to review the tiers for each area on a weekly basis. We need to have a constant and proportionate system in place that protects the health and wellbeing of our communities and reflects the current risk level."