22 May: Covid-19 Update

National Updates


 The First Minister has announced a four phase route map for the easing coronavirus lockdown restrictions. You can read the document here.

Current advice remains unchanged but we will move to Phase 1 of the route map on 28th May if the virus continues to be suppressed. Progress will continue to be assessed every three weeks.

Some of the key phase 1 provisions include:

  • You will be able to meet people from one other household, though initially in small numbers, and at 2 meters distance while you are outside.
  • You will be able to sit or sunbathe in parks and open areas.
  • Some non-contact outdoor leisure activities will be allowed to restart - such as golf, tennis, bowls and fishing - subject to appropriate hygiene and physical distancing.
  • People will be able to travel – preferably by walking or cycling - to a location near their local community for recreation.
  • Non urgent NHS treatment and surgery will gradually restart.

The First Minister also announced that schools are expected to open on 11 August with pupils learning part time in classrooms and at home. Teachers and school staff will return in June to prepare classrooms.

The advice for those who are shielding isn’t changing yet and the government will issue new guidance before 18 June.

More details on expected measures in different sectors are to come.


The four UK Chief Medical Officers have provided an update on Coronavirus symptoms.

All individuals should self-isolate if they develop a new continuous cough or fever or anosmia.

Anosmia is the loss or a change in your normal sense of smell. It can also affect your sense of taste as the two are closely linked

All members of their household must also self-isolate according to current guidelines, unless the symptomatic individual receives a negative test result.

 Emergency Coronavirus Legislation

On 20th May, the Scottish Parliament passed further coronavirus legislation. Provisions include:

  • Powers for Ministers to intervene and manage care homes where there are risks to wellbeing due to coronavirus.
  • Introduction of notice periods for students to leave student accommodation
  • Additional payments for those who receive Carer’s Allowance
  • Removal of restrictions on freedom of information requests
  • Extension of 100% business rate relief to local newspapers

Orkney MSP Liam McArthur secured an extension to the Additional Dwelling Supplement meaning that people have up to three years to sell their old home before they attract a second home tax liability. This island proofing reflects the fact that housing markets can be slower in Orkney and Shetland.

Support for Charities

Properties occupied by charities can now apply for the £10,000 Small Business Grant Scheme. It will apply to properties which are in receipt of any Charitable Rates Relief or Sports Relief, but are otherwise eligible for the Small Business Bonus Scheme.

The scheme is administered through Shetland Islands Council. The application form is available here.

Local Updates

 Northlink Ferries

A number of people have been in touch with concerns about whether travel will be permitted on NorthLink Ferries.

NorthLink Ferries have stated that they are keen to reinforce the Scottish Government's stay at home message, and that they continue to permit travel for those Islanders providing support to family members.

At this time of year this is particularly relevant to students and parents assisting students returning home, or assisting a move back after a period of living off-island. In this case NorthLink advise that parents/carers of prospective travellers will need to provide evidence of island residency with students providing a valid Student ID and/or the students tenancy agreement.

If you have questions you can get in touch with Northlink on 0845 6000 449/01856 885500 or [email protected] or you can get in touch us using the details below.


Loganair’s website has been updated with information on measures that have been introduced to safeguard customers whilst flying.

Measures include:

  • Extra shielding at check-in
  • Self-scan gates and security and when boarding the aircraft
  • Leaving middle seats on aircraft empty
  • Enhanced cleaning between flights
  • A requirement to wear masks onboard

The new information, including a two-minute information video, is available here.


Co-op customers who need support to access food and supplies can purchase gift cards that can be passed on to friends or volunteers to pay for shopping.

Customers can ring the dedicated phone line on 0800 02945 and pay for vouchers by debit or cheque that will then be posted out. Customers can also be matched with volunteers to help deliver their shopping.

More information is available here.

Local Advice and Support

Shetland Coronavirus Hub

The Shetland Coronavirus Hub is available to support anyone who is vulnerable as the result of the pandemic. The Hub can arrange a wide range of support, including emergency food parcels, shopping by volunteers, information about local food shops and delivery, and access to foodbanks if required. 

Anyone who is in need of support should contact Shetland Coronavirus Hub on 0800 030 8780 or email [email protected]

Shetland Citizen’s Advice Bureau

Local CAB advisers are continuing to provide advice and support to folk across the isles by phone and by email.

If you need advice, call the bureau on 01595 694696 or email [email protected] and an adviser will get back to you as soon as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions


We recognise the importance of the tourism and hospitality industries in Shetland and that many businesses are still not able to access the support we need. We are continuing to raise matters with Ministers and have called on both the Scottish and UK Governments to bring forward a 12 month plan to support the industries.

Coronavirus hit just when the visitor season was starting. It is clear that a 12-month plan, at least, is needed to ensure that viable businesses can survive to provide a living for their owners and be ready to safely welcome visitors again when the time is right

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