Local businesses have hit out at Margaret Ferrier after it emerged she visited a gift shop, a beauty salon and a gym on the same day she took a coronavirus test after suffering symptoms.
Ferrier is facing calls to resign and has been suspended from the SNP after it emerged she travelled to London by train after having the test, then back to Scotland after the result came back positive.
The MP is now facing further anger after she shared her movements last Saturday in a series of posts on Twitter, suggesting she visited South Lanarkshire Eastfield Lifestyle, Vanilla Salon and Sweet P Gift Boutique in her constituency town of Rutherglen, near Glasgow.
In her statement on Thursday night, Ferrier said she had requested and taken a COVID-19 on Saturday afternoon after experiencing mild symptoms, raising concerns that she visited the three businesses while suffering from symptoms.
In statements on social media, the owners of The Vanilla Salon and Sweet P Gift Boutique have condemned Ferrier’s actions, saying they have been left having to reassure customers that it is still safe for them to visit.
Posting on Facebook, Vanilla Salon said Ferrier had visited on a “brief, un-arranged visit” and was in the salon for less than five minutes while there were no clients there. The statement added that Ferrier had received no treatments and had not been in close contact with staff.
“Of course we are totally disheartened at how irresponsible her actions were in today’s circumstances and especially at an already challenging time for a new business,” the statement said.
Paula Ogilvie, owner of Sweet P Boutique, said she had been contacted by worried customers but had reviewed CCTV footage of Ferrier’s visit and confirmed she was there for around 10 minutes and wasn’t close to any members of staff or customers for longer than a few seconds.
She wrote: “I‘m really disappointed that someone in her position chose to visit shops and other local places even though she was suffering from Covid symptoms prior to going for a test on Saturday afternoon.”
She added: “Everything we do to limit the spread of Covid doesn’t matter though unless EVERYBODY follows the rules we have in place.
“We ALL have to take responsibility to make sure that we wash and sanitise our hands regularly, wear a clean face covering and make sure it covers our nose and mouth and isolate as soon as possible if we develop symptoms.
“Please, please make sure you follow the guidelines and keep everyone safe during this pandemic.
“My business means everything to me and I’m now worried that this irresponsible act from one person in the public eye will put people off from visiting Sweet P.”
In one post, Ferrier shared a series of pictures that suggested she had visited South Lanarkshire Eastfield Lifestyle.
The images include a picture of her with socially-distanced staff outside the centre and one of her next to an indoor swimming poolm alongside the caption: “Supporting the Great British Week of Sport with a visit to South Lanarkshire Eastfield Lifestyle.
“It’s good to see customers coming back to use gym & dance classes with safeguards in place. Thanks to Manager Stewart & Valerie for the tour.”
In another post, she shared pictures of Vanilla Salon, writing: Popped into Vanilla Salon to wish Kelly, Anna and her team well for the future. I’m loving the decor, bringing some pizzazz to #Rutherglen.”
And in a separate tweet, Ferrier shared pictures of Sweet P, writing: “Lots of new stock in Sweet P gift boutique in #Burnside loving the autumnal colours of the window display #shoplocal @ShopLocal_#lovelocal.”
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