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'Clear routemap out of lockdown' hailed by Moray Council leader Graham Leadbitter


By Alistair Whitfield

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Moray Council's leader has backed the measures announced by Nicola Sturgeon to bring Scotland out of lockdown.

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Graham Leadbitter is also urging people to continue listening carefully to avoid any setbacks as restrictions are gradually eased.

Cllr Leadbitter (Elgin South/SNP) said: "This week the First Minister has presented a clear routemap out of lockdown and I would urge people to download it, read it or listen carefully to news reports explaining it.

"The vast majority of people across Moray and Scotland have been following the rules and advice that have been put in place to combat this very difficult virus and, as a result there are clear signs of progress.

"Next week will see the next phase with some easing of restrictions but with pockets of the virus still appearing, including here in Moray, we must continue to be careful and avoid situations that are likely to cause avoidable risk.

"Basically, we still need to keep two metres from folk from outwith our own households, but some outdoor activities with family and friends will be possible.

"Some travel up to around five miles from home will be possible for exercise, which will open up some choices for people.

"For specific economic sectors and for specific sports and services there will be more detailed guidance that sits behind the headline actions in each phase and the date of each change will clearly depend on a continued reduction in virus transmission.

"Moray Council will continue to work with business representatives, trade unions, public sector partners and national government to develop the detail for each action.

Cllr Leadbitter added: "Council services are gradually returning where it is safe to do so for both our staff and the people using the services.

"Many services will remain significantly different for an extended period of time with education being a particular challenge.

"Schools will return in August, however it will be necessary to have a mix of school and home based education to avoid having too many people in our school buildings.

"In the coming weeks we will see the partial return of recycling centre services, with more details on opening times, the process to book slots and the items that can be accepted being published next week.

"There is also work ongoing on a gradual return of key support services through adult and children’s social care.

"This requires careful planning and re-design of services like respite and daycare, which are incredibly important in supporting unpaid carers.

"We recognise that these services are incredibly important in supporting unpaid carers and will work with individuals to find the best solutions for them and their families.

"This is the first significant step of what will be a much longer process of carefully easing restrictions.

"It will be some welcome relief for people able to return to some activities and a widening of businesses that will be able to operate.

"Thank you to everyone in Moray for sticking with this.

"Following these rules and advice helps us all to get through this and avoid setbacks.

"We will be living with physical distancing measures and shielding for some time.

"There is a huge wave of kindness and community spirit and that is an enormous help for people who may be struggling.

"The kindness, patience and tolerance being demonstrated is really important and we need to hold on to that."

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