Covid-19 (Next Steps)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 9th July 2020.

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The First Minister:

I hope that Alison Johnstone will accept that the Government and I are taking great care in all the decisions that we are taking. None of them is easy or straightforward. If at any stage there is a view that we have not got some of them quite right, we are always willing to listen and to review that.

Before I come to the substantial question, I will close off the point about clarity. This is not about somehow refusing to give clarity—the advice up until now has been that it is not safe. Alison Johnstone is saying that safety should be the key consideration, and the advice on childcare up until now has been that it is not safe for children to move from one place to another. If we are going to change that advice, we need to make sure that we are doing it on the basis of the best possible evidence. That is why it is taking a little bit longer to do it.

What Alison Johnstone has outlined in terms of Airbnb properties or accommodation that is let out and that shares facilities, such as accommodation in tenements, is not acceptable behaviour during this crisis or at any time. That behaviour must be tackled by the relevant authorities.

Anybody who is using an Airbnb property has to comply with the rules that I have set out today and that are clearly set out in our guidance, just as anybody else does. If concerns are raised about the operation of any of the changes that we announce today, including that there is a risk of a resurgence of the virus, we will act on those concerns. Part of the difficulty for businesses and individuals around the country is that none of what I have said today can be set in stone, as it all depends on our continued assurance that we are driving the virus to the lowest levels possible.