THE past week has served as a warning to us all: as organisations, as businesses and as individuals we cannot drop our guard against Covid-19. Scotland has come too far to allow carelessness, recklessness, ignorance or arrogance to derail our recovery.

The Covid cluster linked to a number of Aberdeen pubs and restaurants and the resulting need to reintroduce lockdown restrictions to halt the virus’s spread really brought home just how fragile that recovery is.

I have no doubt the vast majority of businesses across the whole of the country are taking their responsibilities seriously. Just a few days ago the Glasgow Times reported how The Thornwood Bar in the West End asked a customer who refused to provide their test and trace details to leave. It is absolutely critical that effective controls are in put in place to prevent any spread of Covid and to identify potential contacts. Test and trace is a basic requirement and I would expect any business to take a similar approach in the face of such disregard for their staff and other customers. To use the Thornwood’s own language, there can be no time for shambling when lives and livelihoods count.

So as we don’t have to resort to similar actions here in Glasgow as have been put in place in Aberdeen, the city council is again engaging with the business community, particularly with licensed premises. We have to be assured guidelines are being properly put in place. We need businesses to look again at their control regimes and to ask themselves whether they are adequate and being effectively implemented by staff at all times.

It only takes the odd lapse or slackness from a small handful to have serious implications for public health. The inevitable enforcement action and restrictions which would follow a fresh outbreak would have implications for our entire city – not just individual premises.

It’s too early to say what the financial cost and wider impact of the local lockdowns put in place in various UK towns and cities will be. But as hospitality businesses slowly re-emerge from this crisis and as consumer confidence begins to return, a fresh lockdown is not what our city economy needs.

I don’t want to give an impression that a Glasgow lockdown is on the horizon and I need to make clear the city council is here to work with businesses, to assist and to provide advice regarding Covid-19 controls.

Our City Services team stands ready to assist and continue to help steer the hospitality sector then through this crisis. But where the physical and economic well-being of our citizens is placed in jeopardy through poor manage-ment we won’t shirk from enforcement action. Too much is at stake. Of course, every one of us, as individuals, has a responsibility to stick to the guidance, to protect ourselves and others. As we’ve seen in the past day or so how the stupidity and selfishness of one person can threaten serious and significant consequences for so many. But businesses have a responsibility too. I know this places an extra burden on many hard-pressed and struggling operators but so much depends on getting this right and staying on course.

lToday marks one of the most significant milestones since Scotland went into lockdown in March. After almost five months, Glasgow’s children are returning to school.

The transition back to school life after such a prolonged absence will be new to everyone; children, parents, teachers and staff. It will be more difficult for some than others and it will be important to recognise the needs of the entire school community as that reconnection with classroom learning takes place.

Throughout lockdown education staff have communicated with parents and teachers, including on the advice and guidance on health and safety and hygiene. Please let me add to the reassurances issued by colleagues in Education Services that risk assessments have been carried out in all our establishments. Our officers have developed plans for increased cleaning regimes, appropriate health and safety measures and new protocols that will continue to be in place as Glasgow deals with this global health pandemic. Schools have been provided with advice on matters from handwashing routines for children, the use of particular entrances, exits and the collection of children through to the benefits of staggered breaks and lunches.

Our school support staff – the janitors, the catering assistants, the office staff and learning assistants – are all crucial to the safe and smooth passage we all want to see for our children and young people. I would like to thank them for their support and dedication to Glasgow’s young people.

I’m delighted that we have arrived at the day where we have been able to to welcome our children and young people back to their schools and nurseries and repeat my thanks to all those who have ensured it has happened.

The early analysis carried out within the council has shown that our exam results have yet again improved overall. This has been the trend over a number of years and the efforts of our teachers, school staff, council colleagues and above all, the young people themselves, continue to deliver positive outcomes.

At the time of writing it is unclear what measures the Cabinet Secretary for Education John Swinney will announce to address the fallout from the grading issue. But Glasgow’s position is clear. We are proud of the achievements of our young people but recognise the evidence that some have been unfairly downgraded. Glasgow will defend those students and fight to ensure they receive the grade they deserve.