The First Minister has announced today (Tuesday 8th December) that the Scottish Borders will move from Level 2 to Level 1 of the Scottish Government’s Coronavirus Strategic Framework from Friday 11th December at 6pm.
This comes as the region has displayed consistently low levels of Covid-19 for several weeks now.
This change means that Borderers can now meet people outside in groups of 8 from 3 households, hospitality venues can stay open until the later time of 10.30pm and alcohol can be served without a meal.
In addition, outdoor events and small seated indoor events can take place, mobile beauticians, make-up artists and other mobile close contact services can resume and soft play, snooker halls and indoor bowling can reopen.
John Lamont MP, said: “It is a huge relief to see the Scottish Borders move down to level 1.
“This will be very welcome by hospitality businesses who can start getting back to a more normal service from Friday.
“I am delighted that soft play centres can reopen too. They provide a great service to young families across the Borders.
“With vaccinations now underway across the UK, there is a real feeling that we are starting to see a clear path back to normal life. However, we must all continue to act responsibly to ensure we limit the spread of this terrible virus.”
Rachael Hamilton MSP, said: “I welcome the decision to move the Scottish Borders from Level 2 to Level 1.
“With cases falling over many weeks and remaining consistently low, it was logical that this decision was taken.
“In the run up to Christmas, it will mean that more businesses can open for longer, especially hospitality.
“However many weeks at Level 2 was difficult for businesses, given the reduced hours of trading and lower financial support that is on offer compared to in Level 3.
“I want to thank Borderers for their cooperation and I hope that as we saw the first vaccinations today in Coventry, we can take comfort that in the months ahead we will see more progress to eradicating this awful virus.
“As we approach Christmas, I would ask all Borderers to remember to adhere to the guidance to make sure we can stay in Level 1.
Shona Haslam, local councillor for Tweeddale East and Leader of Scottish Borders Council said: “I am delighted that the Scottish Government have listened to the appeals of the hospitality industry in the Scottish Borders and have agreed to put us into Level 1 from this Friday, it is the right decision and one that I welcome.
“When I met with Michael Matheson the Cabinet Secretary on Sunday we made a strong case to move to Level 1, this was backed up by Public health and the police who all felt that this weekend was the right time for the Borders to move to Level 1.
“All of our indicators are now firmly within the level 1 category and I am really proud of the work that the public and local businesses have done to get us to this point.
“This will make such a massive difference to our businesses in the run up to Christmas and I hope that the public enjoy this responsibly and stay as safe as possible.”