Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart is urging the Scottish Government to ensure it takes account of local knowledge about coronavirus risk and wider social harms, as the First Minister announces that Shetland has been placed in Level 1 of its Strategic Framework for tackling COVID-19, with additional measures restricting indoor household meetings.
Responding to questioning from Orkney MSP Liam McArthur highlighting the harms of continuing restrictions on small indoor meetings, and noting that as we approach winter outdoor gatherings or meetings in hospitality settings aren’t always possible in remote island areas, the First Minister gave assurances that the issue will be looked at ahead of the levels review on 10 November with hopes that it can be lifted.
Commenting, Ms Wishart said:
“As I said in the debate on the government’s levels approach, Shetland has a harsh winter, and stopping people from meeting inside at all will add further to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Family and friends support networks are going to be crucial as we head towards what could be a long and difficult winter.
“I note that the First Minister has given an assurance that the restrictions on indoor household visiting will be looked ahead of the levels review date on 10 November. It is imperative that government works closely with elected representatives, officials, and communities in Shetland to understand the situation in the isles, with a view to easing restrictions safely. This has to be a two-way conversation where islanders are heard.
“There has been a great community effort to keep levels of the virus low in Shetland, and we must all remain vigilant. The government now needs to do all it can to show that areas can move down levels when all the right indicators are in place.”