Douglas's constituency includes Crossgates, Hill of Beath and Moss-side

Follow advice – cover when you go shopping

'LAST week, the Scottish Government announced it will be mandatory for us to wear face coverings when we go out for our shopping.

This is a crucial step in ensuring we continue to suppress the virus. Lockdown. Measures are starting to ease and this will mean we will be increasing the contact we have with other people so wearing a face covering in shops is an important step to make sure we do not end up back at square one. Even though we are still seeing people sadly lose their lives due to this deadly virus, all the numbers are moving in the right direction and proving that all your efforts so far are working.

Restrictions easing, but life is not normal yet.

I know many of you will be eager to get down the pub and enjoy the beer gardens in your area when they are allowed to open again this week. However, if social distancing and hygiene are not respected when you make the trip for that first pint in more than 3 months, carelessness could cause measures to go out the window and lead to a resurgence in cases and if that happens the Scottish Government will not hesitate to close outdoor areas. We have seen in the last week in Dumfries and Galloway how the virus can easily spread again and if you do not take the necessary precautions when venturing out, we could see a similar situation in Fife, which no one wants to happen. So, maintain your distance, keep washing your hands and listen to staff who are there to help and protect you.

Further help needed to get business through.

It will be welcome news for a number of businesses that they can now re-open their doors. However, it does not mean it will be plain sailing for business owners as soon as the first customer steps in. There will be a natural anxiety for many consumers, which will of course have an adverse effect on retailers. Many will have less to spend too. All of this combined means we are not out of the woods just yet and we could yet see a number of businesses go bust in the aftershock of the pandemic earthquake – which would be a real travesty as this was brought on through no fault of their own. That is why I have been continually pushing for the UK Government to bring out a raft of packages that would mean businesses can continue to bounce back during and after the pandemic. Those asks include things reducing VAT, extending the furlough scheme and turning government loans into grants to stop businesses piling on more debt.

One sector that will benefit greatly from these proposals is the hospitality and tourism sector, one which is a growing industry in Dunfermline and West Fife and will need the support to get back on its feet again.

How could you help? Businesses need your help as much as they need the Government’s. Where you can, support local businesses. Even a spend of £5 can make a difference to a shop owner, baker or butcher and will help boost the local economy, keep small businesses running and people in jobs'.