Council and Police praise public and businesses social distancing

Tuesday April 21st 2020

Midlothian-Police-Scotland

Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Midlothian Council and Police Scotland have praised the majority of businesses and residents within Midlothian, adhering to social distancing guidelines and, by doing so, helping to protect the NHS and save lives.

The council is making sure essential workplaces and businesses that are able to remain open are complying with the law and are looking after the health and welfare of their staff and customers.

Local police are continuing to engage with relevant partners and conduct dedicated patrols throughout the area to maintain public safety.

Police Scotland officers are taking a common sense approach and will engage with members of the public to explain the importance of social distancing and encourage them to return home. As a last resort police can use the new enforcement powers, if necessary.

A small number of fixed penalty tickets have been issued to those who failed to comply with requests to return home, while the council has served one Prohibition Notice on a food outlet. The notice required the business to take all reasonable steps to make sure anyone on the premises observed social distancing by keeping two metres apart at all times.

Anyone served a Fixed Penalty is fined £60 for a first offence although this is discounted to £30 if you pay within 28 days.

Midlothian Council Leader, Councillor Derek Milligan said:

“Ongoing patrols and checks indicate every business in Midlothian that should be closed, is closed so that’s great news.

“Of those essential workplaces, we’d like to thank them for keeping staff and customers safe but also to say our environmental health team continues to be vigilant and won’t tolerate any outlet breaching legislation. There’s only been one so far, but as far as we are concerned, that’s one too many. We are continuing to monitor businesses to make sure they operate safely and within the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) 2020 regulations.”

Chief Inspector Arron Clinkscales, Local Area Commander for Midlothian said: “The overwhelming majority of Midlothian residents are adhering to the guidelines and staying at home, for which I would like to thank them.

“By doing so you are playing a crucial role in helping prevent the spread of coronavirus, which in turn protects our NHS and saves lives.

“There are, of course, some occasions and instances where you are permitted to leave your home. However, if you are doing so for the purpose of exercise or dog-walking, please stay within your local area and do not drive anywhere for these activities.

“We police by consent and our legitimacy comes from the co-operation and support of our communities. There have been reports of house parties that have been attended and dispersed with advice given to all parties.

“The public continues to engage with police and report things that they feel require our attention in relation to potential breaches of the legislation and we are grateful for this support.”

If you have any concerns about businesses social distancing, you can contact the council’s environmental health team by emailing environmentalhealth@midlothian.gov.uk

To contact Police Scotland with concerns about breaches of social distancing call 101.

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