Hopes for year-end events remain as Renfrewshire Council staff review options

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There may still be hope for Renfrewshire’s autumn and winter events this year, with the Council’s staff “considering options” how to move forward.

At this point last year, the local authority pulled the plug on the famous Halloween festival in Paisley because of a ban on mass gatherings.

And just a few weeks later, the town’s fireworks and Christmas lights were canceled along with the festive celebrations at Johnstone and Renfrew.

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However, it is understood that the council has not yet finalized this year’s events as the chiefs are currently considering whether they could be safely detained according to Scottish Government guidelines.

Concerns about the spread of the coronavirus are growing with the Delta variant, causing cases to rise rapidly across Scotland.

In the seven days leading up to Saturday July 3, 937 new infections were recorded across Renfrewshire – an increase of more than a quarter from the previous week.

More than 12 percent of the tests done during this period were positive, with the infection rate reaching 523.2 per 100,000 people.

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Elected member Kenny MacLaren, who represents Paisley Northwest, said the council should play it safe with the upcoming program of events.

“I can understand that it would normally be better to hold them,” Councilor MacLaren said.

“They bring a lot of people into the city centers and after they were missed last year a lot of people would look forward to it.

“However, there is still a lot of uncertainty about Covid. The planned reduction in safety measures in England seems inconsiderate. We should continue to pursue a safety-first approach.

“The virus is still being transmitted, people are still suffering and ending up in the hospital. Fortunately, fewer people die, but some are still losing their lives.

“If the virus is still widespread, I’d rather postpone it for another year to make sure everyone is safe.

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“I can understand that decisions are postponed until the latest possible time, but at the moment I would be against such major events.”

Paisley’s traditional Sma ‘Shot Day celebration took place online for the second year running last Saturday.

It is not yet known whether the council will consider this approach for other events, but the bosses have announced that more information will be shared in due course.

A Renfrewshire Council spokeswoman said: “We are currently reviewing options for our winter events program in line with the latest guidelines from the Scottish Government.

“More information about these events will be announced at a later date.”