9 April: COVID-19 Update


National Updates

Shielding

Vulnerable people with certain health conditions will receive a letter from NHS Scotland advising them that they are on the shielding list. 

The letter will advise how to register for the national texting service if you wish to receive a weekly delivery of food and medicines alongside other support services. 

Information on those who are considered to be high risk can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/covid-shielding-contacts/pages/highest-risk-classification/

Information on the system can be found here:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/covid-shielding-contacts/.

If you need support with shielding you can contact Shetland Island Council’s shielding support line on 0800 030 8780 or email covid19support@shetland.gov.uk

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans

Changes have been made to the UK Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme.

If your business needs short-term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan. These loans will be available from 23 March 2020 the UK Government will cover the first 12 months of interest charges and any fees.

It was an explicit feature of the original scheme that businesses strong enough to be offered finance at commercial rate were not eligible for CBILS. However, this has now been revised and all viable businesses are now eligible, not just those that are unable to secure regular commercial financing.

More information can be found here.

Lenders have also been banned by the government from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000.

Agriculture

The Scottish Government has clarified that food production and supply are part of the Critical National Infrastructure and can therefore remain in operation, subject to being able to adhere to safe social distancing practice and normal health and safety requirements. This guidance should ensure that workers on farms and crofts across Scotland can continue in their work of producing food for the nation.

Sick pay for agricultural workers is separate, and determined by the Agricultural Wages (Scotland) Order. More information on this, and pay and conditions can be found here: https://www.nfus.org.uk/policy/scottish-agricultural-wages.aspx

The Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) has also been administered: https://www.gov.scot/news/extra-financial-support-for-scottish-farmers/.

The NFUS are regularly updating a coronavirus FAQ, which can be found here: https://www.nfus.org.uk/coronavirus/coronavirusqa.aspx

Advice for livestock keepers can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-livestock-keepers/

Lantra Scotland has launched a new skills matching service to match rural businesses with potential employees and volunteers. During the coronavirus pandemic, the service will help crofters and farmers to find workers with relevant experience. You can find more information and sign up to the scheme here: https://www.scotland.lantra.co.uk/skills-matching-service

Local Updates

Trading Standards

Trading Standards are aware of an ongoing scam in Shetland which includes the promotion of ‘medical machines’ with claims that these can detect and/or cure various illnesses including coronavirus.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Trading Standards on 01595 744887 (or by email at trading.standards@shetland.gov.uk) or Police Scotland on 101. Any contact with be treated in confidence.

Key worker accommodation

Shetland Islands Council may require key worker accommodation in the coming months. Anyone with accommodation available is asked to get in touch with NHS Shetland who will maintain a shared register of properties available.

If you can help, contact shet-hb.tempaccommodation@nhs.net with the address of your property, your terms and conditions and your contact details.

More information is available here.

Ferries

Minor changes have been made to ferry timetables in Bressay, Whalsay and Skerries. Details are available here.

Buses

No change will be given on buses from 12th April. Although contactless is the preferred method of payment,  passengers can still pay by cash but they should have the correct change.

A ‘Local Bus Service’ contactless card is available for purchase on board buses. This can be topped up on buses using exact cash or a contactless bankcard which can then be used as payment for fares. The minimum top up is £5.00. More information is available here.

Blue Badge Applications

Changes have been made to the processing of Disabled Blue Badge applications until further notice.

  • New applications and renewal applications for those who are  automatically entitled* to a blue badge – applications are being processed as normal.
  • New applications for those requiring further assessment (i.e. not automatically entitled) – applications can be submitted but are not being processed at present.
  • Renewal applications for those requiring further assessment – applicants will receive an extension of 12 months to their existing Blue Badge.
  • Applicants with a terminal illness – applications are being fast-tracked as normal.

Queries can be directed to Transport Planning on 01595 744868.

Planning and Building Standards

SIC Planning Service is operating as normally as possible with staff working from home. Changes have been made to some services with more information available here.

Contact:

For Planning Applications, listed buildings and enforcement: development.management@shetland.gov.uk

For Development Planning, built and natural heritage and outdoor access: development.plans@shetland.gov.uk

For Building Standards and building warrants: building.standards@shetland.gov.uk

For Marine Planning, flooding and drainage: marine.planning@shetland.gov.uk

Occupational Therapy

Changes have been made to SIC’s Occupational Therapy Services. Face to face visits will only be arranged If there is no other option. Advice and guidance will still be available during office hours by contacting the OT Duty service on 01595 744319 or by emailing otduty@shetland.gov.uk

More information is available here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Business Support

We have received a lot of correspondence from individuals concerned that their business is falling through the cracks of government support available. We held a conference call with Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing and Islands Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, to highlight that some isles businesses are falling through the cracks.

Beatrice will be following up with Ministers next week so please get in touch if you feel that your business is not getting the support it needs.

What to do if you have symptoms

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are a new continuous cough and/or a fever/high temperature.

If you have symptoms that are causing serious concern call NHS 24 on 111.

If you have mild symptoms or require more information visit www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus or call the special helpline on 0800 028 2816. If you require a sick note due to coronavirus, you can get this from the NHS Inform website.

Contact

Phone Surgeries

Alistair will be running a phone surgery on Mondays and Thursday between 13.00 and 14.00, for the next few weeks. Call the Orkney constituency office on 01856 876 541 (for both Orcadians and Shetlanders) and leave your name and number, Alistair will call you back as soon as he can.

Beatrice will be running a phone surgery on Tuesdays between 12.30 and 13.30. Call the Shetland constituency office on 01595 690 044 and leave your name and number, Beatrice will call you back as soon as she can.

You can email us at:

alistair.carmichael.mp@parliament.uk
beatrice.wishart.msp@parliament.scot

Phone: 01595 690 044

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/BeatriceWishartMSP/

https://www.facebook.com/AlistairCarmichaelUK/

Writing:

Shetland Parliamentary Office, 171 Commercial St, Lerwick, ZE1 0HX

We will get back to you as soon as we can.


Share this post on social media:

Sign in with Facebook, Twitter or Email.