Commenting on the statement by the First Minister today, Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce said:

"The North-east business community has been calling for clarity on the path beyond the so-called 'level zero' for some time so today’s announcement that, as long as progress continues to be made in combatting the virus, physical distancing restrictions will be removed on August 9 is undoubtedly welcome and the signal to companies in many sectors that they can at long last begin the process of rebuilding their businesses.

“It’s also positive that a phased return to offices will begin on July 19, and we welcome government recognising that businesses and their staff should have the flexibility to determine the future working arrangements that best meet their needs.

“The Chamber will be engaging fully with members on the fine detail of this announcement over the coming days and raising questions that seemingly remain unanswered, including whether business, sporting and other events can operate unrestricted at full capacity from August 9.

"Scottish Government must work urgently alongside other UK nations to bolster financial support for firms operating within our international travel sector which remains hugely disadvantaged while restrictions remain. Failure to constructively engage with the sector on a path forward will see irreversible damage done to our domestic and international air connectivity.

“After many false starts, we have now been told that August 9 should mark the date where our economic recovery can begin in earnest. We should be under no illusion that this will automatically mark the immediate end of a hugely difficult period for thousands of our businesses, and we need to see a renewed and meaningful partnership between government and the private sector to meet these challenges head on.”

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