Dear Orkney News,
I listened in horror today to Radio Orkney where James Stockan is trying to push for more tourists to come to Orkney, pushing to have the government guidelines of the 2-metre distance to be shortened. This is with the full knowledge that this has scientifically been proven and is advised that the 2 meter rule is to protect people from the transmission of COVID 19 and the spread of this devastating disease.
Promoting reduced social distancing will not protect Orkney. Our community has almost eradicated this disease by their hard work, efforts and commitment to all the lockdown measures. The letter read out on the radio today obviously got it right, all our efforts where just to slow down deaths to a manageable rate but not to save lives.
We are halfway through the tourism season, it will not in any shape or form be able to recuperate the losses for 2020. Mr Stockan stated some places are not even opening? Did he not think it appropriate to ask why? Well many, I can assure you, are simply not opening because they have weighed up the risks. They do not want to place themselves, families or workers at risk. Reading Facebook posts by providers is proof of this
Can I ask , those who agree to opening up to tourism and agree to wanting to increase the risk even higher like Mr Stockan – Will those who want this , please stand up and work in a café where folk have to take off masks to eat? Will you serve them for a week? Will you clear their dishes? Will you chat freely with them even when they say they are from Leicester or North Yorkshire? Will you go out for one week and clean the public toilets when they have been used predominantly by tourists? Will you work in Tesco’s for a week when you have let them in on the boat, 1 meter apart? Will you volunteer to work on the COVID ward when it is full?
The answer I fear will be no. Yet this is expected of others, the people who live here. This is discrimination at its worst. And on this matter have you considered that locals will not use restaurants and cafes the hospital and GP services, when they know tourist are here.
Now it is time to get serious. Melbourne has just locked down for 6 weeks 5 million people!
Are you willing to risk this happening to Orkney? Another lockdown. Nobody working. No schools. No furlough payment this time round guys. No mortgage relief. All for tourists. Not for Orcadians. Where’s your wealth then?
A vaccine is now at the stage of human tests. They will look for a pilot area that is a controlled environment. You know an area where you can manage people movement, an area that has conquered and contained this disease. Oh I know a place like this don’t you ? A contained environment where, when, vaccinated, we will be safe and risk free of becoming infected. We will be the holy grail, the privileged, the protected. Not like now we are simply like lambs being taken to the slaughter
Then we will all be safe for tourists, they can come all they want, but we the people in Orkney will be saved. We won’t infect them either. Good grief I think our isles will be full to overflowing then, but firstly, we who live here will be safe , we will never experience another lockdown , our vulnerable will not die, our families will not experience poverty our children will be educated and most of all we will live, each and every one of us will live and without fear
So if you want to promote something for god sake promote our lives, promote us as a pilot area, for controlled vaccine programme, promote life for the people of Orkney. Tourism will return, there is no return from death
Stop risking this, life cannot be replaced
On this matter this is our chance now, open up you have blown it , blown our only hope. Be remembered for SAVING ORKNEY Saving the islands. And Let our New NHS Chief Executive lead us to Health. SAVE OUR SOULS
Thank You, Anna Johnston, Orkney