Five bits of advice to get through the pandemic - Adam McVey

COVID is still the most immediate challenge we face as a city. We don’t know how long this “long haul” will last, but we know that’s how long we’re in it for.
Schools are open with tight conditions in place (Picture: John Devlin)Schools are open with tight conditions in place (Picture: John Devlin)
Schools are open with tight conditions in place (Picture: John Devlin)

We have seen significant progress with community facilities like schools, community centres, libraries, gyms, pools and public toilets reopened or reopening- albeit with tight conditions. The council teams across the board have done an outstanding job in reopening services and making sure they can do so in a safe way. The swift approach of public health to confirmed cases of school pupils in particular should give us all confidence in using our local services.

Similarly, we’re able to go to the shops, for a coffee, lunch or a pint and able to see our friends and family more often to catch up, albeit we now can’t do this in our homes. Things have got a lot better since lockdown began in early Spring but now with the first major reintroduction of restrictions that we’ve seen since then, I’m acutely aware of the effect on all of us. Despite this I’m overwhelmingly grateful to residents for sticking to the rules and containing this virus. Recent new restrictions are not because Edinburgh has done anything wrong, they’re because of the nature of a virus we can’t control and things would have much much worse without the sacrifices we’ve all lived through.

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The Capital’s “Forever Edinburgh” campaign continues to highlight what’s fantastic about our city and put a spotlight on experiences and businesses we can enjoy safely right here. Our support of local businesses is not just a crucial part of how we can protect jobs and keep our economy going, it’s important for our own wellbeing too to get out and try new things.

Adam McVey is the leader of Edinburgh City CouncilAdam McVey is the leader of Edinburgh City Council
Adam McVey is the leader of Edinburgh City Council

The vast majority of our businesses are now back trading and it’s hugely encouraging to see our shops with customers and tables in restaurants booked up.

Our businesses are meeting tight Covid rules to keep customers safe in their premises. I’m so proud of our businesses who have embraced this challenge, at some expense, to ensure track and trace, additional cleaning and more space between customers are all put in place. Our job by comparison is easy, turn up and support local business and keep to the rules when doing so.

Public health continues to be a top priority with re-establishing community facilities and support for local businesses close behind to limit the long-term impacts of Covid on our communities. However, we should all be aware of our mental health as well as our physical. Our normal routines have been dismantled and elements we would have relied on to balance our lives aren’t the same.

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The partnership between local government and NHS are working to make sure services are in place across our communities to support people struggling and crisis support is still available, but prevention is better than cure and self-care is essential.

Luckily partners have pulled together five bits of advice to help us all get through. Stay connected – reach out to folk you know; send a text or even video call. Be active – staying active and getting out and about will keep your mind and body healthy. Keep your brain engaged and challenged by reading a book, doing puzzles or trying out a new Bake-Off recipe. Give some time to listen and help those around you – even the smallest act of kindness can improve your mental wellbeing. Take notice of your surroundings – practice some mindfulness, making sure that you keep a comfortable space to relax and enjoy the city’s beautiful green (and blue) spaces.
Cllr Adam McVey is the leader of Edinburgh City Council

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