Care homes that can no longer admit residents because of coronavirus could receive a financial lifeline under a new deal drawn up by councils and the Scottish Government.
Local government leaders at Cosla and Scottish ministers have agreed an approach to support the care sector.
This sets out that where a care home is impacted by a reduction in occupancy because it is clinically unsafe to admit people or due to a reduction in admissions caused by Covid-19, “then a sustainability payment will be made to the care home”.
Care homes would continue to admit residents “where they are able to”, under the terms of the deal.
But with most care homes operated by private firms, the document makes clear they should use “any national relief and business grants they are eligible for in the first instance”.
It also says firms hit by reduced incomes should “consider where costs can be reduced in their business models such as redeployment of staff”.
It stresses, however, that companies should continue to pay staff in line with their terms and conditions, including sick pay.
The deal was agreed after the Scottish Government announced an initial £50 million of funding to help the social care sector deal with the financial implications of coronavirus.
Cosla health and social care spokesman Stuart Currie said: “Council leaders are clear that ensuring the social care sector remains sustainable is a key priority for local government.
“This agreement and the initial payment of £50 million announced by the Scottish Government last week will allow Health and Social Care Partnerships to continue to support the social care sector to respond to Covid-19.”