Aberdeen charts path for Phase 1 of Covid-19 route map

Aberdeen City Council today announced plans for how it will safely steer the city through Phase 1 of the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, working with partners and the public.

It follows confirmation from the Scottish Government that the country has now entered into the first phase of its "route map”.

Phase 1 involves gradual changes that adhere to physical distancing and hygiene measures, and for the Council will mean ensuring that the safety and wellbeing of residents and staff continues to be put first.

The Council’s response will include reopening some recycling centres, resuming grass cutting and roads inspections, and preparing for the reopening of schools in August.

Details of changes to services are being captured on a new section of our website with some of the key changes set out below.  

In line with the Scottish Government’s announcement and in common with all local Scottish authorities, it is anticipated that schools in Aberdeen will re-open on 11 August 2020.

The Council will begin preparations to deliver a blended model of teaching – a mixture of part-time study in school and learning at home. Class sizes will be significantly smaller in order to accommodate social distancing.

Teachers will have a vital role in ensuring that schools are ready from day one of re-opening. This includes curriculum setting, setting lessons, and drawing up class rotas.

The government’s route map permits household waste recycling centres to open as part of Phase 1. The Hazlehead, Bucksburn, and Tullos Household Waste and Recycling Centres will operate from Monday 1 June on normal summer opening hours from 10am to 7.45pm from Monday to Friday and from 9am to 7.45pm on Saturdays and Sundays. The Tullos site will however be closed on Wednesdays.

Physical distancing must be maintained at the sites between staff and other visitors, and the range of material being accepted has been reduced to support this. Details can be found on the website.

Phase 1 of the route map permits more outdoor activity such as being able to sit in the park as long as people are physically distanced. Grass cutting will resume on June 1. Priority areas include open spaces used for leisure and cemeteries.

To manage travel demand and adherence to physical distancing, the Council is to roll out temporary measures for city streets to allow people to walk, cycle, and queue for buses and shopping.

Measures are being designed to support the NHS guidance on physical distancing and include pedestrianisation, pavement widening, temporary bike lanes, and one-way walking systems, and work is expected to start in the next few days.

Phase 1 relaxes some restrictions on how business can operate and the Council will support a safe return. Contractors carrying out construction work, for example, will initially focus only on tasks that will maintain physical distancing.

Aberdeen City Council, as with all local authorities, shares responsibilities with other bodies such as Police Scotland and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in working together to ensure compliance in workplaces and businesses.

  • Police Scotland has sole responsibility under the regulations for dealing with restrictions on movement and public gatherings;
  • The HSE remains the regulator for premises including manufacturing, construction, waste and sites subject to major hazards legislation;
  • The Council is the main regulator for retail, wholesale distribution and warehousing, hotel and catering premises, offices, and the consumer/leisure industries.

Council Co-Leader Councillor Douglas Lumsden said: "Our response to Phase 1 is aligned with government guidance and seeks to protect people and the place as we start on what will be a challenging journey in the weeks and months ahead.

“For the Council this involves reinstating services where we can – and today we are sharing details – while considering the impact on us as an institution and of course our customers and staff.

“Today is about very much looking forward. By working together and continuing to respect the necessary rules on physical distancing, we can begin to start to build back better.”

Co-Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: "I am sure people will welcome the chance to again use public outdoor spaces for recreational purposes, the reinstatement of some key services in the community, and businesses beginning to restart.

“What matters most is that we do this in a safe fashion by continuing to follow national guidance, accepting this will be a gradual process, requiring patience and understanding.

“The Council will share updates on our website and via social media as they become available, and I would urge everyone to familiarise themselves with the changes and to follow our channels as we move through the route map.”

The route map gives an indication of the order in which the Scottish Government will carefully seek to change current restrictions.

Every three weeks the government will review how the virus is being controlled and decide to what extent it can move from one phase to another. Not everything currently listed in a single phase will necessarily happen at the same time.

In the meantime, the Council’s preparations for Phases 2 to 4 are under way.