Warning folk not to travel to Shetland unless necessary was ‘right message’

Shetland representatives have repeated the message urging folk not to visit the Scottish islands unless for essential travel.

Beatrice Wishart MSP and Alistair Carmichael MP backed the message from the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who issued the reminder in her lunchtime briefing yesterday (Thursday).

“It is still the case that you should not go to our island communities except for essential reasons,” Ms Sturgeon said.

Ms Wishart said it was the “right message”.

“Compliance with lockdown measures, thanks to the sacrifices of islanders, has made a real difference to controlling the spread of the virus,” she added.

“We need to make sure that new cases are not brought into Shetland by sticking to the current guidance and that remaining cases are caught through the successful rollout of the test and trace strategy.

“We will then be in a strong position to welcome visitors to the isles again when the time is right.”

Mr Carmichael added: “As we move towards relaxing some of the lockdown restrictions in Scotland, we must ensure that common sense is used to ensure we do not reintroduce COVID-19 into island communities. Local people and businesses will be happy to welcome people back to the isles in the future, but for the time being we must protect the vulnerable and only make essential travel.

“Now is the time for the Scottish and UK governments to commit to a long-term support plan for areas reliant on tourism, so that we can lock down safely, and recover quickly.”

NorthLink Ferries also repeated its message urging folk not to try to travel unless necessary.

“The single most important action we can all take, in fighting Coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives,” it said in Facebook.

“As the country enters phase one of Scotland’s route map through and out of the Covid-19 crisis it was again re-iterated that travel to and from the Scottish Islands is not permitted for recreational or social purposes.

“Serco NorthLink Ferries are currently running an essential lifeline service between the Scottish mainland and Orkney and Shetland. To help to stop the spread of Coronavirus, NorthLink Ferries are currently refusing all but the most essential travel.

“We would like to thank our passengers for their understanding and co-operation at this time.”


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