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The successful roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine is allowing the Scottish Government to lift more and more of the restrictions we’ve all been living under for over a year. The virus still poses a real threat however, so it’s important that people continue to follow the revised guidance even if they’ve been vaccinated.

I attended the recent Westminster statement on easing the quarantine requirements for people returning some overseas destinations. Although this was welcome news both for holidaymakers and for everyone who works in the travel industry, people need to be fully aware of the situation before they book an overseas holiday. If the Covid-19 situation deteriorates in the country you’re visiting (either before you travel or while you’re there) it could change the rules on quarantine or isolation when you get home. Before you book, check the small print on your booking and on your travel insurance very carefully to see if you’ll get a refund if this happens.

I’m delighted to have able to start having “face to face” advice surgeries again. They won’t feel the same as my usual summer surgery tours as we still need to follow Covid-19 precautions. The main difference is that you’ll need to make an appointment first, as we need to limit the number of people in the venue. Some of the venues we’ve used in the past are just too small to allow safe distancing, and a lot of community halls have not yet started taking bookings again but I’m hoping to get round as much of the constituency as possible during the parliamentary recess.

I’ve also been very pleased to be able to start getting out and about again to meet local community groups and businesses – although I had to cancel a week of visits when I got “pinged” by the NHS England app a few days after I travelled home from Westminster. With Parliament now in recess I’ve been pleased to visit a number of community organisations who have been distributing food and other essentials to people in need.

The Post Office have started the formal “consultation” on the closure of Thornton Post Office. This is the latest in a long list of shops where the owner has found they just can’t operate a post office successfully under the current Post Office scheme. As part of the consultation on Thornton the Post Office have published details of how to get to other post offices in the area. It wrongly claims that there’s a good bus service between Thornton and Coaltown of Balgonie, and it forgets to mention the long uphill trauchle between Glenrothes bus station and the Kingdom Centre post office. It’s quite obvious that whoever did this “assessment” has never actually travelled to any of these places by public transport.

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