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A helpline for providing Scottish businesses with advice and guidance on the COVID-19 outbreak has been announced by Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop.

This helpline is now open, Monday to Friday, between 8.30am till 5.30pm.

Based at the Scottish Enterprise’s existing call center in Clydebank, advisers across Scotland will answer any questions from businesses related to COVID-19. This helpline can also work to give the Scottish government a better understanding of the challenges currently facing businesses.

On Thursday afternoon the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, confirmed that both the Scottish and UK governments were moving from the containment phase to delay. She also stated that large gatherings of over 500 people will be cancelled to support the resilience of the emergency services.

The Chief Medical Officer has advised that those with mild symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 for example continuous coughing or a fever or temperature of above 37.8 should self-isolate for seven days.Those who have been in contact with someone experiencing symptoms should only self-isolate if they themselves begin experiencing those symptoms.

During a meeting with representatives from Scotland’s business support organisations including the STUC this week, Ms Hyslop stressed the importance of everyone following the latest advice on COVID-19.

Ms Hyslop said:

“Scotland is well-prepared for a significant outbreak of coronavirus but people have a vital role to play in helping us contain any outbreak by following the latest health and travel advice.

“This situation presents a significant risk to global and domestic economic activity. That is why today we are launching a business helpline which will provide companies in Scotland with the support and guidance they need to respond appropriately.

“We continue to work closely with our partners to identify what further support businesses need. For example, the Minister for Local Government and Planning and the Chief Planner wrote to all planning authorities this week encouraging them to relax their approach to the enforcement of planning restrictions on shop delivery times and opening hours.

“I also chaired a meeting with representatives from Scotland’s business support organisations including the STUC to hear their concerns and provide reassurance that the Scottish Government will do everything in our power to protect the workforce, businesses and our economy.

“I’d also encourage everyone to refer to the new guidance on COVID-19 that includes workplace advice on reducing the spread of infection.

“Following the UK Government’s budget we also require urgent clarification on what funding Scotland will receive from the announcements made by the UK Government, at a time when prospects for the economy and public finances remain very uncertain as the short term impacts of COVID-19 unfold.

The business helpline number is 0300 303 0660.

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