COUNTY residents have been urged not to travel into Edinburgh - unless it is absolutely essential - as new restrictions on movement between council areas come into force this evening.

Travel restrictions being put into law today (Friday) mean that people living in a protection level 3 or 4 local authority should not travel outside their area except for an essential purpose – such as work or caring responsibilities.

East Lothian is currently in protection level 3 - as is City of Edinburgh and Midlothian Councils - but both East Lothian and Midlothian move to level 2 on Tuesday, resulting in an easing of some restrictions, particularly in the hospitality industry.

Councillor Norman Hampshire, the depute leader of East Lothian Council, said it was hugely important that everyone continued to follow Covid-19 travel restrictions in a bid to stop the virus spreading.

“People from East Lothian are continuing to play their part in tackling Covid-19 - the last thing we want is to undo the welcome but very fragile progress which has been made in recent weeks," he said.

“Whilst I appreciate that the restrictions are massively frustrating, they are in place to help save lives and hopefully get back to some semblance of normality in the months ahead.

“That’s why I would urge people from East Lothian not to travel into level 3 or 4 local authority areas, where there may be higher numbers of people carrying the virus, unless it’s absolutely essential.

“Edinburgh remains in level 3 and that unfortunately means that our residents should not enter the city area, and indeed other areas in level 3 or 4, for non-essential activities while we are in level 2."

  • People should not travel from level 2 areas (East Lothian will move to level 2 on Tuesday) into level 3 or 4 local authority areas unless it is essential.
  • Edinburgh is a local authority area which will remain in Level 3 at this time.
  • People should not travel from level 3 or 4 areas into East Lothian if their journey is unnecessary.

He urged county residents to shop local and "use the fantastic shops we have here in East Lothian who need your support".

"Our ‘Stay Safe, Support Local, Love East Lothian’ campaign highlights that, whatever products or services you’re looking for, it’s likely you’ll find them here in East Lothian," he added.

“There are exceptions [to the travel restrictions] such as for work or education that cannot be done from home or to provide assistance to a vulnerable person. I would encourage people to familiarise themselves with the list of exceptions on the Scottish Government website.

“East Lothian is well known for its fantastic hospitality but, under these rules, I’m afraid it’s not possible for people from level 3 or 4 areas to visit us for non-essential purposes at this time.

"We all want to see the back of this horrendous virus and visitors can be assured of a warm welcome at our friendly businesses and wonderful attractions – when it is safe to do so. And I hope that will be in the not too distant future."

And he urged residents to do all they could to prevent the county from sliding back into more severe restrictions.

"To be frank, if folk don’t follow this guidance there is a risk virus prevalence could increase in East Lothian and we may see the return of more severe restrictions," he admitted.

" Please do the right thing – it is hugely important to help ourselves and each other.”