Dundee City Council leader John Alexander has admitted the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions will be challenging, with “life or death” decisions to be made.
Ms Sturgeon made the announcement and unveiled a four-phase “route map” aimed at restarting society, with the first phase including allowing people to meet outside with people from one other household (see video below).
Schools will not reopen until the new school year begins after August 11, with children returning to a “blended model of part-time in-school and part-time at-home learning”.
Mr Alexander and the leader of the Labour group on the local authority, Kevin Keenan, gave their thoughts on the announcement via a video interview, immediately following Ms Sturgeon’s announcement.
Councillor Keenan said: “I think the message, going forward, needs to be very clear and reassuring to people as the likes of schools and workplaces start to open.
“That information still needs to be disseminated; people need to move on with their lives and be cautious.
“As we step forward, I think there needs to be clear guidance, because taking that step back again, will be difficult to get people to adhere to.”
Councillor Alexander said: “I think it’s going to be more and more difficult in terms of getting 100% clarity as we start to change the lockdown measures and ease them, because there will always be some grey areas, I suppose.
“I think it’s as clear as it possibly can be; I think it’s setting out exactly what you can do – so it’s saying you can mix with one other household – but, in all of the guidance, it’s about socially distancing.
“I think it gives people a degree of clarity on what’s OK and what’s not OK at this point in time.
“It is a cautious approach so it’s an incremental change and I think that’s quite important, because the risk (of infection) is still there, as you say.”
Councillor Keenan said there were still grey areas he and many others in the country would be unsure about, however.
He said: “Is the message that it’s one household per day? Or is it one (single) household for the next three weeks?
“I’ve got two daughters and grandchildren. Is it a case I can see one from a distance and have to ignore the other for a bit?
“It opens the door for people to consider the level of engagement, and as to whether it’s one person for Monday, another on Tuesday, another on Wednesday in which case that level of contact, albeit trying to keep the level of social distance, can be extended endlessly.
“And I suppose that’s the bit that we’re all trying to be cautious about – trying to make sure that we don’t flood the hospitals with individuals that are unwell again, and go through another great deal of loss of life.”
While he admitted the situation would likely become more challenging as Scotland moves into phases two, three and four, Mr Alexander said that the public would see the easing of restrictions by Holyrood as the right move.
He said: “I think people will see this as a positive in terms of it’s a step in the right direction.
“(People are) going to be able to see friends – they might not be able to hug them – but I think being two metres apart, like Kevin was saying, being able to see his grandkids and his daughters, it’s going to make a hell of a difference to people, just in terms of their own mental wellbeing as well.
“It’s an important step. We knew it was going to be coming at some point, and obviously the council has been preparing for some of the easing of that.
“But I think cautious is the word of the moment. It has to be a cautious approach. As Kevin rightly said, this is a life or death situation.
“We’ve also got to bear in mind some of the other challenges that we’ve seen elsewhere.
“So, we don’t know how this is going to move forward, we don’t know what’s going to happen during the winter months, when coronavirus-related illnesses peak, so I think we’ve got to do what we have at the moment, which is move into phase one, and then prepare for this to be an extensive process.”