Renfrewshire Council

Message from Chief Executive, Sandra Black - 16 April 2021

For those of you that managed to have some time off over the Easter break, welcome back and I hope you all had the chance to relax and spend time with the people close to you.

I would also like to thank everyone who continued to work over the holidays to provide essential services that so many people in our communities rely on, and I encourage you to please take some well-deserved downtime soon.

It's been a week since we received the unfortunate news of the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. Provost Lorraine Cameron expressed her sincere condolences to Her Majesty The Queen and the entire Royal Family on behalf of the people of Renfrewshire and an online book of condolence is available for those who wish to pay their respects.

Monday will see the return of all pupils and all Renfrewshire schools to full time in-class teaching and I am very grateful to all our teachers and school staff for your hard work to support children and young people at home and to prepare for their return. Additional safety measures and guidance is in place. This includes the mandatory wearing of face coverings by all pupils and teachers in secondary schools, and the expansion of Lateral Flow Testing to include all school staff in primary, secondary and special schools, and for all secondary school pupils. Pupils in the shielding category are the only exception and their return will be delayed until April 26 following advice from government health advisers.

I would like to pass on my thanks to parents and particularly our children and young people. I know how hard it must be for all involved, but you have responded magnificently to all the difficulties of the last year.

We received further good news this week, with the announcement that travel restrictions within Scotland are to be eased from today, Friday 16 April. This means that from today you can now leave your local authority area for socialising, recreation or exercise, and can also meet up outdoors with six adults from up to six households.

The acceleration of the easing of restrictions has been made possible due to the progress we continue to make in suppressing the virus and Scottish Government has this week confirmed that Scotland remains on track to ease restrictions further from the end of this month, and you can read more about the route map out of lockdown on the Scottish Government website.

Maintaining this positive progress is important for all of us and I am really pleased Renfrewshire continues to play its part in the national response through ongoing community testing and the delivery of the vaccination programme.  Residents in Linwood are being urged to find out if they have COVID-19 when our latest temporary testing site for people without symptoms of the virus (asymptomatic) visits the area next week.

The testing site at Tweedie Hall will be open from Wednesday 21 April to Tuesday 27 April and aims to slow the spread of the virus in the area - which has seen higher-than-average rates of Covid-19. 

Asymptomatic testing is helping us stop the spread of COVID-19 here in Renfrewshire. Since December 2020, we have hosted temporary testing centres in Johnstone, Gallowhill and Ferguslie Park in Paisley, and all three of these centres helped us to find people who had COVID-19 and were spreading it without knowing it.

This testing centre will allow us to do the same in Linwood, helping us to stop the spread of the virus in the community, and I would encourage anyone who lives, works or goes to school in Linwood to visit our testing centre. 

And finally, with the Scottish Parliament elections set to take place on Thursday 6 May I would like to remind you that the deadline for registering to vote is Monday 19 April. You can check if you are eligible or register to vote by visiting www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

Thanks, and stay safe

Sandra