There have been calls for travel restrictions in the UK to be relaxed at the same time as those on the Scottish mainland.
Currently, people living in the Scottish Borders can only leave their local authority area for essential purposes.
However, from the 26th April, travel within the Scottish mainland is to be allowed. When announcing this change, the First Minister said that ‘we hope that restrictions on journeys between Scotland and other parts of the UK and the wider common travel area can also be lifted, if not on 26 April, then as soon as possible thereafter.’
Coronavirus data across the UK continues to improve with the fast vaccination rate and lockdown restrictions paying dividends.
Currently, Scotland has the highest rate of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in the UK:
Northern Ireland 49.4
In addition to this, Clackmannanshire has the highest rate of Covid-19 per head in the UK.
Borders politicians have spoken out about the importance of cross-border travel for families meeting up after months apart, and allowing some tourism businesses to resume.
John Lamont MP said:
“It has been a very tough few months not being able to travel to neighbouring areas to visit family or for grandparents to see new grandchildren.
“With mainland Scotland travel restrictions being eased on the 26th April, I think we need to see travel to elsewhere in the UK eased as well.
“This is especially important for Borders communities like ours, where many families live just a few miles apart but are on separate sides of the border.
“Given that Scotland currently has the highest rate of Covid-19 in the UK, fears about importing cases from higher areas are not justified.
“Seeing family and friends from across the border for the first time in months will be very welcome and will have a really positive effect on people’s mental health.
Rachael Hamilton, candidate for Ettrick, Roxburgh & Berwickshire said:
“Allowing families to reunite again after this long lockdown period is very important and should not be delayed any further.
“Due to the high uptake of vaccinations by the public and the tremendous rollout by thousands of NHS staff and volunteers, we can begin to ease restrictions.
“Sticking to travel restrictions has been challenging for many, especially those who have loved ones over the border in Northumberland.
“When restrictions on cross border travel were brought in, I was contacted by constituents who are rightly worried about what impact it had on them, given the interwoven nature of the Borders and Northumberland.
“For weeks now, Scotland has had a higher Covid case rate than England and Wales, so the First Minister cannot use this as a reason for not lifting them.
“When travel restrictions are lifted within Scotland on the 26th April, it is important that the SNP Government lift those applying to travel to and from England, in earnest”.