Covid Scotland: Edinburgh council bosses ban Christmas parties

Staff have been urged by Edinburgh City Council chiefs to cancel their Christmas parties amid a new wave of coronavirus infections.

It follows advice issued by Nicola Sturgeon urging people to ‘defer’ workplace festive gatherings as Omicron cases continue to rise rapidly.

The local authority – which employs around 17,000 people across the city – said council workers have been asked to follow the advice and halt Christmas party plans “for the time being”.

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And whilst bosses cannot stop staff from meeting up and celebrating the festive season outside of work, the council said that no Christmas parties are being allowed to take place in any of its buildings or offices this year.

Party ban at Edinburgh City Chambers and all council premises.Party ban at Edinburgh City Chambers and all council premises.
Party ban at Edinburgh City Chambers and all council premises.

A council spokesperson said: “The First Minister re-confirmed the Public Health Scotland advice that it would be sensible for work Christmas parties to be deferred.

“So, in line with Scottish Government guidance, we’re asking teams to defer their Christmas parties for the time being.”

The rules surrounding Christmas parties have been under the spotlight recently, after allegations that gatherings were held in Downing Street during lockdown last December, where Boris Johnson’s staff were said to have taken part in a secret Santa and had cheese and wine.

Last week a video emerged showing former Government advisor Allegra Stratton joking about one of the alleged parties during a rehearsal for a press briefing at Downing Street. She has since resigned, however Downing Street has continued to deny that Covid rules were breached in the run-up to Christmas last year.

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