Shetland’s tourism industry is looking forward to “welcoming visitors back to our beautiful isles” – but has urged folk to think carefully about their trip.
Following recent announcements from the Scottish government, self-catering providers will be able to open from Friday, 3rd July, with the rest of the hospitality sector set to follow from the 15th.
Shetland Tourism Association (STA) said most isles businesses were planning to reopen, depending on government guidance, but it wanted everyone to understand their responsibilities.
“How businesses prepare to reopen as part of the route map to recovery is crucially important,” it said in a statement on its website.
“For visitors to Shetland and local residents the good news is that you will soon be able to take those long-awaited cherished holidays.
“Our members look forward to welcoming you, but because of the virus some things will be different.”
The STA said its members had carried out a range of measures to protect everyone from the virus, including investing in personal protective equipment, adapting buildings, training staff and “developing entirely new ways of working”.
It said this had brought “added expense, stress and pressure at an already difficult time” – particularly as many businesses had received little or no funding from government,
“These businesses have lost the vast majority of their annual income and have limited time to salvage something of the short season,” the STA added.
“Several have decided it is simply not viable to reopen this year.”
While those businesses still planning to reopen were said to be working hard to make visitors’ trips as safe as possible, the STA also urged folk to “think carefully about your trip to Shetland”.
“Nobody wants Shetland to have an outbreak of Covid cases,” it said.
The STA is urging anyone with symptoms to stay at home, everyone to adhere to social distancing, and check what guidance is in place when visiting places, such as whether they should wear face coverings, or a one-way system
“Please keep to the guidelines, especially those on social distancing and hand washing, while having patience and respect for each other,” the STA said.
“In the meantime, we look forward to our tourism industry reopening and welcoming visitors back to our beautiful isles.”