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Limited lockdown let up in sight

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CORONAVIRUS lockdown measures across Dumfries and Galloway will begin to be eased next week.

The First Minister today announced that from next Thursday, May 28, two households will be able to meet outdoors and with physical distancing, including in gardens. Limited outdoor sports like golf, canoeing, hiking and fishing are also set to be reintroduced with social distancing measures in place. And there will be no limit to the amount of time that can be spent exercising, with an advisory five mile travel radius for outdoor leisure.

As part of phase one, Nicola Sturgeon also listed the opening of garden centres and drive thrus, as well as recycling centres, and a phased restart of construction. Children’s Hearings will restart too and court buildings will reopen but with limited access.

Although school staff will return to schools, pupils will not be back in the classrooms until August 11 and only then on a part time basis. However, there will be an increased number of children accessing critical childcare provision and a reopening of childminding.

Remote and home working remains the default position for most firms, but those that are reopening should encourage staggered start times and flexible working.

Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell has given a cautious welcome the proposals. He said: “I think many constituents will be relieved to see the gentle easing of restrictions coming in from next week. There will be more detail to come and some people may have questions, but there is no doubt for many people the idea that they can see family and friends, all be it in limited circumstances, will be very welcome.

“Obviously people need to continue to be cautious and continue to stay at home where possible but it is clear that the time is coming where we need to look beyond this first phase and take the opportunities that are there to return to some sense of normality.”

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