WE are now eight months into restrictions on our life and work due to the Covid-19. It looks like we face, at the very least, another three to four months of limitations on our ability to socialise, travel, eat out or work normally; if we are able to work at all.

As we prepare for a new set of rules and guidelines to come into effect, the need for public support and understanding of the rules becomes ever more important. Government, at every level, from Westminster to Holyrood and local councils have an overriding duty to explain what is expected, why any action is being taken, what support will be in place and, crucially, provide some clear prospect of how we might thus return to normal.

I was on the phone to my sister earlier this week. She was describing her increasing frustration, even anger, and real temptation just to ignore the guidelines. She is desperate to cuddle her granddaughter who lives only a few miles. My sister is not alone, I get the distinct impression that there is a mounting feeling that the cure might be worse than the disease.

I fully understand why many people are starting to question whether all the restrictions are necessary. The financial and human costs are mounting and there is no clear end in sight. The prospect of a digital Christmas fills all of us with some level of despair.

I do not envy the difficult decisions that either Johnson or Sturgeon have to make. Nor do I think that there is some simple alternative which neither of them have had the wisdom to pursue. What is required, however, is far greater clarity on what the rules are and better coordination between the two governments to ensure proper financial support for those whose jobs and livelihoods are threatened.

The measures which come into effect on November 2 will be based on local authority areas. Glasgow is likely to be in Level 3, which, confusingly, is the fourth highest level of five. (England will get by with three levels.) Our neighbours in North and South Lanarkshire are likely to be in Level 4. In some parts of the city a hairdresser will be open but another hairdresser 50 yards along the road, just over the border, will be closed.

My own Ward shares borders with both South Lanarkshire and East Renfrewshire. There could be three different levels within easy walking distance.

The financial packages so far announced seem less than adequate. There is a specific fund for nightclubs but the way it has been set up seems to preclude most premises from benefiting.

Richard Leonard, Scottish Labour leader, has been clear in outlining Labour’s support for continuing measures but that support is not unqualified or uncritical. We desperately need clarity rather than confusion.

The evidence to justify measures must be shared with the public. Support for jobs and businesses has to be adequate and flexible enough to meet the actual needs at a local level.

We do need to beat this disease and we need to do that together. Both Johnson and Sturgeon are in danger of losing public confidence and public support. Though I am no fan of either of them, such a collapse in public support would be disastrous. Stay safe.