I AM SURE many of my constituents will be delighted that East Lothian is now in Level 2, which means that the area is now under less strict restrictions.

In this level, all organised outdoor sports, personal training and coaching is permitted, restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars can open indoors and sell alcohol alongside food, and all retailers can open providing they follow Scottish Government guidance.

What remains important is that you do not travel into Level 3 or 4 areas, which currently includes Edinburgh. This is because travelling there brings a higher risk, given a larger proportion of the population there have the virus, and doing this would risk undoing the good work already undertaken in lowering cases locally. At this stage also, indoor meetings in a private setting are still deemed too risky.

None of us want more restrictions put back in place, and that is why it is so important that the rules are followed. The best place to find the up-to-date information on what is and isn’t allowed in Level 2 is at gov.scot

Christmas is fast approaching, and I would like to thank all those who will see an increased workload over the coming weeks. Postal workers will have a busy season ahead and are all working hard to ensure that we can stay connected with one another, even when these unusual times are keeping us apart.

I would ask you all to be particularly mindful of retail workers this Christmas – it is more important than ever to plan ahead and not leave Christmas shopping to the last minute. Where possible, try to purchase items in advance and you can also check online to find times when shops are quieter. You can also look at smaller, local businesses to try to keep pressure off of big retail supermarkets, as well as getting a unique present and supporting small business owners. We have a duty to keep others safe, and this can be helped by ensuring we stay away from crowds and don’t contribute to overwhelmed shops.