Travel to and from the isles can resume by the end of this month, the First Minister has announced.
Nicola Sturgeon says the Scottish government intends to free up travel restrictions as part of the country’s move out of lockdown measures.
It follows consultation on whether people would prefer to remain in level three, allowing travel between Shetland and the mainland, or to move down to level two but maintain an ongoing ban on unnecessary travel out of the isles.
Speaking on Tuesday Ms Sturgeon said: “I know neither option will please everybody. However, based on the balance of opinion we have decided on the latter option – aligning islands with the rest of the country for a period so that travel, and therefore parts of the economy that so many islanders rely on, can operate more normally from the 26th of April.”
“As a result of staying in level three for a bit longer, it will be possible for islanders and visitors to travel to and from the islands. I know that will make a difference to many individuals and businesses on our islands.”
Ms Sturgeon said she expected the whole country to move to at least level two on 17th May.
It is hoped a further move to level one can be achieved in early June, with level zero hopefully achievable by the end of that month.