GETTING a sense, rightly or wrongly, that folk in Scotland are less likely to chafe against restrictions on their daily lives as a result of Covid than those other parts of the UK, virtually locked down since summer.

Not Scots in the hospitality trade and others dependant on retail and tourism obviously.

For them the last nine months have been a constant nightmare of fluctuating opening times. And, as the top Scottish chef Tom Kitchin pointed out, opening and closing and opening up again is, in itself, a very expensive hobby.

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Yet within the public at large, I sense a feeling of actively wanting to err on the side of caution. Certainly the overwhelming reaction to the Christmas relaxation has been more – “decisions, decisions, how should we navigate this?” – than “whoop de whoop, let’s party”.

Several of my own friends have taken the decision to scrap normal festive arrangements, not necessarily because they’re concerned about their own health, but they’re anxious that travelling furth of their own backyard might inadvertently endanger relations who are elderly or vulnerable for health reasons.

Argyll and Bute has been fortunate in its tier status thus far, but there seems a general awareness that without constant vigilance the numbers could rapidly increase, as Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have discovered. It’s been a roller coaster of a year, with summer’s drop in infection and deaths now a hazy memory as the chillier climate in which viruses flourish settles in.

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In other years the major fear was winter flu and vomiting bugs and they haven’t gone away either. It all puts added pressure on our NHS and the folks who keep its show on the road. They’re more than worth the standalone bonus just announced, and if the chancellor has a decent bone in his body (not to mention decent political nous) he’ll keep the taxman’s mitts off it.

Round my way, the flu jab was organised and delivered with comforting efficiency. We’re all hoping like hell the same will be said when the much hoped for Covid vaccine is finally available. Never will so many of us have been so happy to be assaulted by a syringe.

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