Stirling Council Leader Scott Farmer has wished the community a happy and safe Christmas as preparations are made for a nation-wide move to Level 4 Coronavirus restrictions.

Starting at 00.01am on Boxing Day, the Stirling Council area will join the rest of mainland Scotland in transitioning to the highest level of COVID-19 restrictions.

The change was announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Saturday, 19 December, after a new variant of the virus was confirmed to be in circulation that seems to be much more transmissible.

The Stirling Council area is currently in Level 3 of COVID restrictions, which will last until midnight on Christmas Day before the national changeover.

Level 4 restrictions will then run from Boxing Day for another three weeks, with a review after 2 weeks.

The Government has also urged caution over the Christmas Day bubble rules, underlining its position that despite the flexibility on 25 December, the safest way to spend Christmas this year is at home with your own household.

Remain vigilant

Council Leader, Cllr Farmer said: “2020 has been a year like no other. The Coronavirus pandemic has brought incredible challenges and, for some, unimaginable sadness into our lives on a daily basis.

“The festive period is a time when we traditionally try to forget about day-to-day struggles and heartaches, but it’s more important than ever for us all to remain vigilant in the fight against this virus over the holidays.

“A new variant of the virus has emerged and the evidence suggests it could sweep across the nation if we drop our guard.

“Our citizens have already shown incredible resilience and community spirit in these unprecedented times, and I urge you all to continue to keep that going amidst these most recent changes to give us a better chance of having a more normal 2021.”

Staying at home as much as possible

Cllr Farmer added: “I’m sure, like me, our residents were imagining a very different type of Christmas with our friends and families, even as recently as this time last week.

“However, one thing we’ve all learned in 2020 is to expect the unexpected, and these most recent changes to the restriction levels reflect the apparent ability of this new variant of the virus to spread far more quickly and easily.

“Given the continuing threat, we must continue to protect ourselves, our communities and loved ones by following the rules and staying at home as much as possible this Christmas.

“I know how tough these measures will be for everyone but please stick with it with the hope of better times in 2021.”

Hogmanay Fireworks

Despite the implementation of Level 4 restrictions from Boxing Day, the Council can confirm its annual Hogmanay fireworks display will still take place at the National Wallace Monument on 31 December.

This two-minute display is not a public event, and will be streamed live on the BBC to give everyone a chance to celebrate Hogmanay safely from home.

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