Christmas lights are beginning to twinkle above East Dunbartonshire streets, but it will be a very different festive period for residents and businesses this year.
With East Dunbartonshire currently in Level 4 - in the midst of a worldwide coronavirus emergency - a number of restrictions are currently in place to help combat COVID-19 and keep everybody safe.
The Council will continue to work with traders and organisations as much as possible - in line with the latest guidance - as we approach a Christmas unlike any other.
No festive lights switch-on events are being supported as they are not possible under the current restrictions, however, keep an eye out as the Council powers up Christmas lights in local communities.
Only essential retail can remain open in Level 4 areas, provided they follow and have implemented Scottish Government guidance to ensure the safety of customers and staff.
The message to local residents who need to venture out is to stay safe and stay local.
Parking charges are being suspended in all of the Council's fee-levying car parks for each of the three Saturdays in the run-up to Christmas Day - December 5, 12 and 19 - tying in with the Scotland Loves Local campaign.
A number of local traders and organisations - including the Council - have been backing the campaign, which aims to encourage people to think local and support local businesses, safely and in line with public health guidelines. East Dunbartonshire shops and outlets have been rising to the challenge by adapting to incorporate online ordering, delivery and more.
Councillor Andrew Polson, Joint Leader of the Council, said, "It has been an incredibly difficult year for everyone and we are going through yet another challenging stage in the struggle against COVID-19. I want to pay tribute to all our local residents, businesses and communities for their extraordinary efforts and patience.
"Our town and village centres are usually at the heart of joyous festive celebrations, but sadly these cannot take place this year. That said, we are doing our bit to ensure the Christmas lights shine bright, while continuing to support local businesses and groups as much as possible."
Councillor Vaughan Moody, Joint Leader of the Council, added, "Despite the ongoing restrictions, we will be suspending parking charges in the Council's fee-levying car parks on the three Saturdays leading up to Christmas Day. We would ask people to support our centres if they have to venture out, while staying safe and following public health guidance - echoing the aims of the Scotland Loves Local campaign.
"A lot of work has been taking place with local and national organisations to help support economic recovery and protect jobs, while being mindful of the continuing challenges associated with COVID-19. I want to thank everyone who lives, works and trades locally for their exceptional efforts and understanding."
For business support information locally, please visit www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/covid-19-business-support
For more information on Scotland Loves Local, visit https://lovelocal.scot/
Scotland Loves Local - an initiative from Scotland's Towns Partnership - is being backed by the Council and its partners, who have been working with shops, service providers and organisations throughout the pandemic.
The aim of the campaign, supported by the Scottish Government, is to highlight the fact that it's the people behind the businesses which make town centres special - not simply buildings.
It also encourages everyone to show their support safely, following the latest social distancing and hygiene guidance.
A collaborative group including the Council, Business Gateway East Dunbartonshire, Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce, Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and community organisations has been working together to develop and deliver practical proposals to support town centre and business recovery.