Shetland Islands Council has clarified its position on cash-handling when it comes to public transport, including on ferries and buses.
The council said it takes guidance from the World Health Organisation, whose advice is that people should wash their hands after handling money, especially if they are then handling or eating food – the SIC stressed that there has been no public health advice against using money.
Concerns from passengers and staff were recognised, according to the council, which has been undertaking Covid-19 risk assessments to manage perceived risk, and implementing control measures.
Ryan Thomson, chairman of the SIC’s environment and transport committee and transport partnership ZetTrans, said he was “aware that there is a misconception that the WHO has advised folk not to use cash for payments – this is categorically not true.
“I entirely understand that, in this time of uncertainty and fear, misinformation can easily be shared as fact, but the Council must make its decisions, and take action, based on evidence and good scientific advice.
“We will not simply stop taking fares on our ferries and buses. We cannot take action based on bad science. The advice is clear – stay at home and do not travel unless it is absolutely essential; follow the guidance to stay at home if you have symptoms for seven days and for 14 days if anyone in your household has symptoms; and follow good hand hygiene practices.
“It should not have to be repeated that you shouldn’t travel if you have a fever or cough, and take the recommended precautions if you must be an area with other people. First and foremost, however – don’t travel unless you absolutely have to.”