The Scottish Parliament has announced it will suspend public engagement activities as it prioritises supporting parliamentary business and responding to the Coronavirus.
These changes are being made to ensure that the Parliament continues to fulfil its vital functions of passing legislation, enabling Members to represent the views of the people of Scotland and to scrutinise the actions of the Scottish Government, particularly in the context of the national and international response to Covid-19. It has also made the changes to reduce risk to visitors and staff.
From Tuesday 17 March, the following services will be suspended:
• Events, including Member Sponsored Events & Exhibitions;
• Tours, including Members’ Tours;
• CPG meetings at Holyrood;
• The public café and shop;
• Access to the building for the general public on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays;
• Inward and outward education and community outreach;
• Inward and outward International Relations Office visits;
• Foreign travel for Committee business.
The Holyrood building will for now remain accessible to visitors for meetings connected with parliamentary or constituency business.
The public galleries in the Chamber and Committees will also remain open when Parliament is sitting, though the public is encouraged to watch online at www.scottishparliament.tv.
Speaking as the announcement was made, Presiding Officer, Rt Hon Ken Macintosh MSP, said:
“With each day that passes, it has become clearer that we are facing extremely challenging circumstances now and in the weeks ahead.
“All parties in the Parliament have agreed that we must take further steps in order to prioritise Chamber and Committee Business.
“While openness and accessibility are cornerstones of the Scottish Parliament, the coming weeks are likely to see major changes to how we operate from normal.
“We will continue to monitor developments closely, and remain in regular contact with other UK legislatures, the Scottish Government and the Chief Medical Officer.
“We recognise that this health emergency is creating great anxiety amongst staff, Members and visitors alike, and our response will continue to evolve taking account of the latest information available and closely following the public health advice.”
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