Community / Mareel, library and learning classes among latest closures

Mareel. Photo: Shetland News
Mareel. Photo: Shetland News

ALL of Shetland Arts’ venues – including Mareel and Bonhoga Gallery – are being shut until further notice due to the coronavirus outbreak, as is the Shetland Library.

The Garrison Theatre and Shetland Arts’ retail outlet at Sumburgh Airport will also close.

The Shetland Library and learning centre in Lerwick, meanwhile, will close from 5pm tonight (17 March).


Shetland Arts chief executive Graeme Howell said: “This decision was not taken lightly, but for the welfare of our staff, customers and all of Shetland we need to follow public health advice and reduce pressure on essential services.

“We hope to see you again soon, in the meantime we recognise the importance of the arts to health and wellbeing. We are exploring new ways of sharing our work online and are busy updating the website, YouTube channel and social media with even more great arts content to enable folk across Shetland to continue to access the arts from their own homes.”

Shetland Library. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

Any customers with tickets booked for films or events until 2 April will receive a refund. Anyone who booked without an account but paid by card will also receive a refund.

If you paid by cash, get in touch with Shetland Arts on info@shetlandarts.org with your order number which is printed on the ticket.

The decision, meanwhile, by Shetland Islands Council to close Shetland Library “will allow flexibility in staffing arrangements, so that staff can work behind the scenes, answer calls or emails, or work from home”.

The mobile library will not be out and home deliveries will be suspended pending review, with a hope that they can continue in due course.


The library apologises for this temporary closure and will be working to help customers use eBooks and online services.

The public are also reminded that free wifi extends into the library’s grounds so can used at any time by people with their own devices.

The closures follow new government guidance issued on Monday (16 March) to limit the spread of coronavirus.

The council has meanwhile announced the closure of a number of classes, with ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and Adult Learning Classes suspended until further notice.

And from today (Tuesday) One to One Learning and Learning Support at Home will no longer be carried out.  All learners have been notified and staff will maintain contact by telephone where appropriate.

Staff are currently investigating alternative ways to implement Ongoing Support to Learners. Individuals can be supported with their learning over the telephone or online, and are asked to continue to get in touch by phone or email.

Information and updates will be provided via the community planning website and Facebook pages:
·         SIC Community Planning and Development Website
·         Shetland Community Hub Facebook Page
·         ESOL Shetland – Adult Learning Facebook Page.

Anyone with queries should call 01595 743880 or email classes@shetland.gov.uk