Anger over Edinburgh coronavirus restrictions continues

The First Minister has said she did not 'pick on' the city by refusing to move it into level two.

Politicians and businesses in Edinburgh are continuing to voice their anger following the decision to keep the city under level three restrictions. 

A cross-party group of Edinburgh MSPs have expressed their exasperation at the coronavirus level designation and written to the First Minister urging her to reconsider the decision.

On Tuesday, Nicola Sturgeon announced at Holyrood that Edinburgh would remain in level three while reviewing restrictions across Scotland.

Representatives from the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Labour, the Conservatives and the Greens said the government’s decision sits “contrary to the recommendations of public health officials”. 

They also stressed that constituents and local business owners are concerned that these harsh restrictions might continue for the duration of the crisis despite their significant efforts to bring infection rates down.

One such business, One20 Wine Cafe in the city, is considering taking legal action against the government as the restrictions stop them being able to serve alcohol. 

Elaine Motion, lawyer for the wine cafe, said: “For the last few weeks, Edinburgh city has been reducing its numbers and has not, as far as our clients can see and indeed as I can see, fall within the criteria to remain in level three.

“We cannot identify criteria and then not apply those criteria when assessing fairly where a local authority should sit.”

On Wednesday, the First Minister defended the decision, saying she did not “pick on” Edinburgh by refusing to ease coronavirus restrictions in the city. 

During the daily coronavirus briefing, Nicola Sturgeon said she would have “loved” to loosen restrictions in Edinburgh,

“Politicians like to do popular things,” she said.

“The fact I didn’t do it was not to pick on Edinburgh, I love Edinburgh. It was not to pick on Edinburgh, it is because I think it is essential to take that cautious and safe approach.”

She said she wants the capital to be “open, free and businesses trading and people coming to visit it”.

But she added: “Cases in Lothian are rising, in the most recent days we have also seen a bit of a rise in cases in Edinburgh.

“So looking at all of that we have to ask ourselves the serious question, if we think cases across Lothian, including in Edinburgh, might be rising a bit at worst, but at best not really declining, does it make sense to open things up, knowing that will give the virus… the opportunity to spread again.

“I hope we will see Edinburgh move down a level in the weeks to come, we will review it again next week, but we have to be careful.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code