People across Banffshire will have breathed a sigh of relief this week when it was announced there would be no changes to the Covid-19 restrictions for Aberdeenshire or Moray.
Moray remains in Tier 1 while Aberdeenshire stays in Tier 2, despite a spike in infection rates in many parts of Banff and Buchan and elsewhere in the region.
There had been an expectation, going into last Tuesday’s announcement from the First Minister, that Aberdeenshire may be moved up to Tier 3.
That would have been a serious blow to the hospitality sector as bars, cafes, and restaurants would have been prevented from selling alcohol and would have had to shut their doors by 6pm.
Businesses including beauty salons and entertainment venues would have had to close, while tourists would have been prevented from travelling into or out of the area.
While the decision to keep Aberdeenshire in Tier 2 was broadly welcomed, it should act as a wake-up call to everyone that we cannot afford to be complacent.
It is clear from the current levels of positive cases that we must remain vigilant.
If we allow our guard to slip, then Aberdeenshire may yet be moved into a higher tier of restrictions.
The virus is still out there, so I would again ask everyone to protect each other by continuing to follow the usual social distancing and hygiene measures.
By doing so, we can continue to suppress this virus. This is essential as we approach the festive period when there might be a slight easing of restrictions.
There is clearly some light at the end of the tunnel now, with millions of doses of the first Covid-19 vaccine ready to be distributed around the UK from December onwards.
And while we must continue to fight the virus, we must also look forward and ensure our economy can bounce back as quickly as possible.
The Prime Minister made two big interventions over the past week that will help towards that.
Boris Johnson announced the biggest increase in defence spending since the end of the Cold War, with a pledge to invest an extra £4billion in each of the next four years to “transform” the military.
This is very good news for Scotland, which is home to the Royal Navy’s entire submarine service, half the UK’s typhoon force and around 10,000 military personnel as well as 4,000 reservists.
The PM also outlined a new 10-point plan to invest heavily in green industry around the country, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs and investing £12billion.
The key part of this announcement for the north-east of Scotland is a £1billion fund to support carbon capture and storage projects, which could benefit the Acorn Project planned for St Fergus.
This all illustrates that Scotland continues to benefit from being an integral part of the UK.
The importance of the Union was underlined again as new figures showed that every person in Scotland benefits from public spending that is £1,761 higher than the UK average.
The breakdown of funding from HM Treasury found that Scotland received £11,556 for every man, woman and child, while the average in the rest of the UK was £9,985.
We continue to benefit in a very tangible way from the very constitutional arrangements that the SNP want to rip apart.