The Council has outlined its revised service arrangements ahead of the city entering level four of the Scottish Government’s COVID restrictions framework.
Short-term plans have been drawn up in light of new rules, which come into effect at 00.01 on 26 December, and these will be reviewed in the New Year and in line with any future revisions by the Scottish Government.
Many Council services will continue as normal - waste services will be delivered in line with Christmas arrangements and household waste and recycling centres will remain open, as will parks.
Changes will include the suspension of library services and the reduction of Council house repairs and shared repairs surveys to essential work only. The City Art Centre will close and community centres will be limited to essential services, such as emergency shelter and providing meals for the homeless.
Schools will remain closed until 18 January, in line with Scottish Government guidance, with remote learning to start on 11 January.
Council Leader Adam McVey said:
We know how difficult the tightening of restrictions over Christmas will be for people. This has been an extremely challenging year for everyone – individuals, families, communities and businesses – and the prospect of not being able to see family or loved ones as much as expected, or to reopen businesses after Christmas Day, will be another huge challenge for us to get through.
The stricter guidance shows how dangerous the situation still is and this Christmas we can’t afford to let our guard down. It’s essential that we listen to the advice of public health experts if we are to minimise the impact of COVID, and that means sticking to the guidance. This will be a festive period like no other, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, and together we can look forward to a brighter 2021.
I’d like to wish people a very Merry Christmas, and to thank you for your sacrifices and working so hard to adhere to restrictions throughout 2020.
Depute Leader Cammy Day said:
Christmas can be hard for many people at the best of times, so this year will be particularly tough as we face the threat of COVID and increased restrictions into the start of January at least.
I want to reassure the public that we’re doing everything we can to make this period as easy as possible and will be working hard to support those in need while keeping Council services running smoothly. I would encourage people to check the Coronavirus pages on our website for any changes or updates.
If we work together to follow guidance, staying within our local authority area, reducing contact with others and observing physical distancing and hygiene advice if we do form a bubble, I know we can enjoy a safe, peaceful Christmas Day, with minimum impact on the health of our city.
On 19 December, the First Minister announced that protections against COVID would be significantly strengthened from Boxing Day to prevent the spread of a new, highly contagious strain of the virus.
Level four restrictions include the closure of non-essential retail and hospitality and a ban on travel out of the area, unless it is for essential reasons.
The planned easing of restrictions around Christmas has also been limited to Christmas Day with a maximum of eight people from three households allowed to meet. However, people are encouraged to celebrate the festive period at home in their own household and meet with others outdoors.