COVID-19 Advice

What to do if you have symptoms

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • new and continuous cough
  • fever/high temperature (37.8C or greater)
  • loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste (anosmia)

If you’ve developed symptoms you need to self-isolate for 7 days from the start of your symptoms and arrange to be tested even if you think your symptoms are mild.

 To book a test, Shetlanders need to complete the self-referral form here. If you can’t access the online form ring 01595 532030 between 09.00 and 12.30 and 14:00 – 17:00 Monday – Friday.

 Residents of non-doctor islands should contact their local clinician.

 Full information from NHS Shetland is available here.

If you live with other people they'll need to stay at home for 14 days from the start of your symptoms even if they don’t have symptoms themselves.

More information on how to self-isolate is available from NHS Inform here.

If you have symptoms that are causing serious concern call NHS 24 on 111 or dial 999 in an emergency.

If you require more information visit or call the special helpline on 0800 028 2816. If you need a sick note due to coronavirus, you can get this from the NHS Inform website.

Vulnerable People and Shielding

Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms and the highest risk of fatalities in people with weakened immune systems, older people and those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

People considered to be at highest risk from coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Scotland and asked to stay home and avoid outside contact. Any care services that are set up will continue.

More information on shielding measures, including how to access food and essential supplies, can be found here:

You can contact the Shetland Coronavirus Support Hub on 0800 030 8780 for advice and help with essential supplies.

Information and help is also available from the following sources:

  • Age Scotland’s free, confidential helpline is available on 0800 12 44 222 Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm. 

Social Restrictions – Lockdown

The Scottish Government has published a Route Map document for the easing of lockdown restrictions in Scotland.

It is still important that physical distancing is maintained at all times – staying 2 metres apart – and practiceing good hygiene.

On 29 May, we entered Phase 1 of the route map. The following measures are now permitted:

  • One household can meet up with another outdoors. This should be only one household within the same day and a recommended maximum of 8 people overall.
  • Outdoor spaces can be used for recreation, for example sitting in parks or having picnics. However people should not share foods between households and avoid using shared facilities.
  • People can travel a short distance for leisure but it is recommended that you stay in your local area and avoid public transport. Some outdoor activities like golf and angling can resume. Recreational boating is also permitted:
  • Most outdoor workplaces can resume.
  • The construction sector will move to the first phase of its re-start plan.
  • Restaurants and cades can provide delivery, take-away and drive through food 

On 1 June:

  • Staff can return to schools to prepare for schools to reopen for blended learning on 11 August.
  • Household waste recycling centres begin to reopen.

On 3 June:

  • Childminding services and outdoor nursery provision will be available, subject to increased hygiene and physical distancing

If the police find people on premises flouting these rules, they will offer strong advice for people to stop. However, if you are aged 18 years or over and refuse to follow their instructions you may be issued with a fixed penalty notice.

Employment and Social Security

Statutory Sick Pay

You can get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks. If you are staying at home because of COVID-19 you can now claim SSP. This includes individuals who are caring for people in the same household and therefore have been advised to do a household quarantine. To check your sick pay entitlement, you should talk to your employer, and visit the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) page for more information.

Proof of sickness

If you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home, you can get an ‘isolation note’ by visiting NHS online. Isolation notes will also be accepted by Jobcentre Plus as evidence of your inability to attend.

Recently unemployed

If you have recently become unemployed, you can find information on how to claim support here:


The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by coronavirus. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

HMRC has now contacted customers believed to be eligible for SEISS, based on their existing information. If you have not been contacted by HMRC and believe you may be eligible for SEISS, you can check here if you can make a claim.

You can also apply for Universal Credit.

Personal Finance

If you need advice on your personal finances you can contact:

Shetland Citizen’s Advice Bureau: call 01595 694696 or email and a local adviser will get back to you as soon as possible.

The Money Advice Service: or 0800 138 7777

Business support

If you require immediate financial support and intervention, you should contact your own bank or creditors in the first instance. Short term extensions to overdrafts or other solutions may be available until the following government measures are in place.

UK Government Support

Information on the support available from the UK Government is available here:

Measures include the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Any employer in any sector can apply to HMRC for it to pay 80% if the salary of any employee who is unable to work as a result of the pandemic. HMRC will pay the salary of each employee up to a cap of £2,500 per month. This will pay for any number of employees in each organisation. The scheme will run until the end of October.

Scottish Government Support

Information on the support available from the Scottish Government is available here:

Measures include:

A one-off £10,000 grant is available to business ratepayers with properties in receipt of:

  • Small Business Bonus Scheme relief (SBBS) or Rural Relief
  • Nursery Relief, Disabled Relief, Business Growth Accelerator, Fresh Start, Charitable Rate Relief, Sports relief or Enterprise Area Relief but eligible for SBBS

A one-off £25,000 grant is available to retail, hospitality and leisure business with property with a rateable value between £18,001 - £51,000

Full eligibility criteria for these grants is available here.

Other sources of information

You can contact the Shetland Business Gateway team for advice on your particular business circumstances. Phone: 01595 707 491 Email:

You can also get advice by calling the Scottish Government’s helpline: 0300 303 0660. It is open Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm. Select option 1 to speak to the COVID-19 team.

The Federation of Small Businesses has created a dedicated business support hub, containing a wide range of useful, constantly updated information. This is open to all businesses, non-members included


Schools and nurseries

Almost all children and young people across Scotland will experience a blend of in-school and in-home learning from the 11 August 2020.

Local plans are being drawn up for the re-opening of schools and delivery of Early Learning and Childcare.

Key workers

Childcare for key workers will continue throughout the summer break.

In Shetland, key workers are:

  • Category 1 – Health and Care workers directly supporting COVID response, and associated staff; Health and Care workers supporting life threatening emergency work, as well as critical primary and community care provision; Energy suppliers (small numbers identified as top priority already); staff providing childcare/learning for other category 1 staff.
  • Category 2 – All other Health and Care workers, and wider public sector workers providing emergency/critical welfare services (e.g Fire, Police, Prisons, Social Workers, etc), as well as those supporting our Critical National Infrastructure, without whom serious damage to the welfare of the people of Scotland could be caused.
  • Category 3 – All workers (private, public or third sector) without whom there could be a significant impact on Scotland (but where the response to COVID-19, or the ability to perform essential tasks to keep the country running, would not be severely compromised)

If one parent is a key worker and the other is not, the non-key worker is normally expected to provide childcare. to request a Critical Childcare Registration Form. Completed forms should be returned to the inbox by 11.00am each Friday for prioritisation for the following week.  


All exams have been cancelled this year. An alternative certification model is being developed by the SQA so that those who were due to receive grades this year will get the credit they are due. 

The SQA has said that it will work to ensure that learners receive their results no later than 4 August, as planned.

There will be a free post-results service for young people who don’t get the results they expected.

Support for parents and carers

The Scottish Government have created a hub for support and information, which can be found here:

Parentline is available free of charge via phone, email, webchat or text for all parents and carers in Scotland. Skilled and fully qualified staff will be on hand to talk through anything that families are worried about, seven days a week: 9am-9pm during the week and 9am-12pm at the weekend. This service can provide help and support, including money advice, for parents and carers to talk about anything from behavioural challenges and concerns, bedtime routines, mental health worries and coping with changes to routines, including being at home for longer periods of time and helping families through schools and nurseries closures.

They can be contacted on 08000 28 22 33, emailed at Their website


Current advice is to stay at home as much as possible to avoid unnecessary social contact. Therefore you should not travel unless you really have to. 

Foreign Travel

If you do have to travel, you should check the latest advice. 

UK Government advice can be found here:

NHS Scotland have advice here:

There are some countries you shouldn’t go to. The World Health Organisation are publishing daily situation reports that describe the situation in each country.

If you already have a holiday booked it’s worth checking guidance from your travel agent, airline or other holiday provider. You might be able to rebook your holiday for a later date.

If you need to cancel your holiday because you’re ill or you’re following government advice, get in touch with your travel insurer to see if you’re covered for cancelling. 

Consumer Advice Scotland may be useful in these circumstances:

UK Citizens Abroad 

MSPs and MPs both have established links to assist constituents in need of consular assistance overseas. Please get in touch with our offices.

To ensure you are able to access consular assistance, we recommend you contact the local British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate General on their urgent support number. You can find this number by googling ‘UK in [country]’ If you are able to, we would encourage a friend or family member also contacting the FCO via 02070081500 to raise the matter. 

Air travel

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


Inter-island ferries will operate a Saturday timetable until further notice.

Northlink Ferry services are currently only for those who live on our islands and/or have an essential need to travel to or from the mainland, and for essential supplies or business.

More information can be found here:

Updated 29 May 2020.


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