New coronavirus advice helpline for Scottish businesses

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A majority of businesses responding to the survey expect to see their costs rise

A new helpline has been launched to supply Scottish businesses with tailored advice on coronavirus.

It will be open Monday to Friday from 08:30 to 17:30, based at Scottish Enterprise's call centre in Clydebank.

Call handlers will answer questions from businesses related to Covid-19 as well as relaying the challenges faced by businesses to the Scottish government.

It comes as the UK enters the second phase of virus management.

The helpline number is 0300 303 0660.

Where are the Scottish cases?. .  .

On Thursday the Scottish government advised that gatherings of over 500 people should be cancelled from Monday to free up the emergency services.

People with symptoms of the virus - namely a fever or a new cough - are now urged to stay at home for a period of seven days.

Those who have been in contact with someone who is experiencing symptoms should only self-isolate if they begin to experience symptoms.

There have now been 60 cases of Covid-19 confirmed in Scotland - a rise of 24 from Wednesday.

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said the situation presents a "significant risk" to the global and domestic economies, which is why there was a need for the new business helpline.

She said that work was under way to identify further needs of businesses including calls for planning authorities to relax their approach to restrictions on shop delivery times and opening hours.

Ms Hyslop said: "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."