By Rab Bruce’s Spider

The regulations covering what we can or cannot do under Covid19 restrictions are pretty complex, and the situation is not helped by the fact that they keep changing, with some areas having even stricter impositions placed on them. This has resulted in some sarcastic social media comments about being allowed to go to the pub but not being allowed to meet family members in your own house, and this is quite understandable since the rules do seem to incorporate rather a lot of conflicting messages. For example, it’s OK for pupils to attend school, and for people to go to a pub or restaurant, but having family over for dinner is forbidden if it exceeds 6 adults from more than 2 households.

Now, it’s fine to mock, and no Government should be beyond having the mickey taken where appropriate, but there are a few things we do need to keep in mind when criticising these restrictions.

First of all, we must remember that nearly everyone hated Lock Down. People wanted to get out and about, and many businesses began to struggle financially. What the Scottish Government is trying to do is balance returning to some sort of limited normality while still keeping the spread of the pandemic under some sort of control. This means that pubs and restaurants should be allowed to open with restrictions in place in order to keep them going as viable concerns, but that indoor meetings in households, which seem to play a significant role in the spread of Covid19, also need to have restrictions placed on them. It would be easier to simply shut down all public venues again, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that the Scottish Government has no powers to pay furlough or business support payments. If businesses are not permitted to trade, most will go under before very long. It’s a difficult balancing act, and I don’t envy Nicola Sturgeon the responsibility she bears for making these judgement calls.

The increase in cases is very worrying, and it must be said that it seems to be the younger generations who are socialising more and therefore spreading the disease more. It’s perfectly understandable that younger people want to mix, but if that is going to result in more deaths, then the inevitable consequence will be more restrictions.

As for going to work, the message is still to work from home if at all possible. This is being clouded by the UK Government’s apparent desire to get people back to work because wealthy landlords are suffering due to buildings being unoccupied. As usual with Westminster, it’s the rich who matter most. In Scotland, let’s try to observe the rules even though we know some of them seem contradictory on occasion.

And if you are not sure whether you are allowed to do something, then the best thing is not to do it. Lives are at stake here, so let’s do our best to tackle the spread of the pandemic by being sensible.

And please download the Protect Scotland app. If you’re worried about the Government being able to track you, then you might want to take a look at your own social media posts where you tell the world what you have been doing. Your phone is tracking you anyway, and Google and Apple probably know more about where you go than your family do. Besides which, the app is anonymous and, according to folk with technical expertise, doesn’t track you in any case. All it’s doing is using Bluetooth to record which other Bluetooth devices are near you, and for how long. Around 20% of the Scottish population have already downloaded it, but we need more than that.

Finally, by all means make fun of the current situation if it helps you cope. Humour is, after all, a basic human response to most situations. But don’t let that humour persuade you to break the rules because you think they are silly. Some may be less effective than others, but all of them are intended to save lives – possibly yours.