News

Orkney To Remain At Level 3

It was confirmed today, 13th of April, that Orkney would remain at Level 3 but with the opening up of more travel in alignment with mainland Scotland from 26th of April.

In her update, the First Minister of Scotland said:

“To those who would have preferred to see the islands move to level 2 at the end of April, let me reassure you that we do expect at least a move to level 2 to happen three weeks later on 17 May. So this is not long in the context of what we have been dealing with over the past year, where every day feels like an eternity, but it’s not an unending period of time.

“In the meantime, as a result of staying in level 3 for a bit longer, it will be possible for islanders and visitors to travel to and from the islands and I know that will make a difference to individuals and businesses on the islands.”

Secondary school students will all return to face to face schooling in Orkney after the Easter break on Monday 19th of April.

Schools will see more ventilation and the offer of twice-weekly lateral flow COVID-19 testing among staff and senior pupils. The 2m distancing rules will be relaxed.

The Scottish Government expects the whole of Scotland to move to Level 2 on 17 May, to level 1 in early June; and to level 0 in later June.

There were images posted on social media of crowded bars in England where restrictions have already been relaxed.

From 16th of April people will be able to travel anywhere ” for the purposes of outdoor socialising, recreation, or informal exercise”in Scotland.

From 26th of April all travel restrictions within Scotland will be lifted. This includes travel to and from England and Wales.

The Covid stats for Scotland as at 13th of April are as follows:

  • 221 new cases of COVID-19 reported
  • 15,354 new tests for COVID-19 that reported results – 1.6% of these were positive
  • 3 new reported death(s) of people who have tested positive 
  • 20 people were in intensive care yesterday with recently confirmed COVID-19
  • 133 people were in hospital yesterday with recently confirmed COVID-19
  • 2,682,706 people have received the first dose of the Covid vaccination and 605,126 have received their second dose

The virus travels with people so as the country opens up more it is even more important to maintain physical distancing and to wear face coverings where needed.

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  1. Picture it…..

    Someone in a crowded bar in London thinks “I fancy a nice little holiday in Scotland – maybe Orkney – that sounds like a nice, relaxed, low risk place to be.”

    Gets in car……drives up through England, through Scotland….and….

    Remember the Roses of Eyam…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2020/04/13/the-roses-of-eyam-a-parable-for-our-time/

    Ultimately, it was worth staying closed off.

    Nearer in time – there’s what’s happening in The Isle of Man…. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/isle-of-man-covid-lockdown-ends-b1795792.html

    Note travel restrictions still in place.

    I’m writing this, but there is nothing I can do about the new rules, except stay at home myself.

    This is what I wrote to all our MSP’s after filling in the ‘Easing Covid-19 restrictions – Islands Consultation’ last month……

    “To whom it may concern

    I write in response to a front page article in ‘The Orcadian’, telling of Councillor Stockan’s plans to ease Covid restrictions for Orkney as soon as possible – in particular, the suggestion of easing travel restrictions between Orkney and Mainland Scotland.

    I first read of this in an article in ‘The Orkney News’ https://theorkneynews.scot/2021/03/24/should-covid-restrictions-be-eased-in-orkney/

    As you can see, I added a comment.

    I feel so helpless about this. I was angry when I first read of Stockan’s plan. I was, and still am, concerned that The Scottish Government will accept that he speaks for Orkney. A reasonable enough supposition as he is Leader of the Council. But remember – we didn’t vote him into that position.

    I filled in the ‘Islands Resilience’ consultation, and sent it off. I hope that a lot of other people did so too, and that a lot of those people also expressed a distrust of Stockan’s approach to opening up Orkney again too soon.

    Then, I read the article in the Orcadian, and all the anger and helplessness came back again.

    I wondered what can I do about it as well as filling in the consultation, and decided to send this email, direct.

    I feel helpless, and tired of making the effort to try to get The Powers That Be to see sense, but I will keep on pegging away with what I believe to be the right thing to do to try to help to keep Orkney safe.

    Meanwhile, personally, I will continue to stay at home. My husband will go shopping once a week, wearing his mask and putting sanitizer on his hands when he gets back to the car. No, we’re not paranoid – we just want to stay alive!

    And it’s not just about us, it’s about……. everyone. I’m thinking about everyone. And it’s not just about Orkney, it’s about …the world.
    Orkney has done so well so far by being very careful, let’s not blow it now.
    The ‘economy’ isn’t much use to a person when they are dead, or dealing with on-going health problems caused by Covid.

    Easing out of Covid restrictions should be guided by thought, reason, and sound judgement, not by avarice, panic or a need to be ‘popular’.

    I hope that this heart-felt message receives some attention. It could be said – do I speak for Orkney? I don’t claim to, but I also don’t have the power or influence to cause harm here, while ill-judgement on the part of the – unelected – Leader the Council, does.

    Yours, in hope
    Bernie Bell
    Orkney”

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