Coronavirus / Tough new emergency measures, but not a lockdown yet

SHETLAND has so far not been put in a ‘lockdown’, council chief executive Maggie Sandison said on Friday – but she could not rule out further measures that would restrict and impact people’s mobility.

“As a community Shetland has responded really well to all the messages of social distancing and have started to isolate, but it is not a lockdown,” she said.

These further measures were introduced as she was speaking to Shetland News when prime minister Boris Johnson announced that pubs, cafes and restaurants were to close.

SIC chief executive Maggie Sandison. Photo: Shetland News

Sandison said Shetland Islands Council and other local authorities were usually learning of new measures through the media rather than being told in advance.

“This will apply to Shetland as well,” she said, adding that take-aways were excluded from the ban.

Any additional measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus were likely to come either from central government or the Scottish Government rather than from the local authority.


“Certainly the potential for stringent lockdown measures has been trailed by the First Minister and the prime minister,” Sandison said.

“These measures now exist in legislation and can be applied at the right time in terms of the UK’s response to the pandemic,” she said.

Referring to suggestions that Shetland as a whole should self-isolate by implementing quarantine measures to those coming to the islands, and should have done so a long time ago, Sandison said it was now too late to do so.

“The emergency powers weren’t around at a time when this might have been a protective factor to the islands,” she added.

She added that for example the communities of Shetland’s smaller islands had asked the council to help restricting the number of visitors to Foula, Fair Isle, Papa Stour and Fetlar as a protective measure, recognising that the seats on the plane are going to be needed for the communities.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


Flight operator Airtask confirmed earlier this week that it would only take bookings from island residents or providers of essential services “vital for island life”.

Sandison praised the local community for the way it had responded to an unprecedented situation.

“The manner in which people have responded to the public health messages has been incredibly impressive, recognising that we have the capacity to manage how the virus impacts on the community,” she said.

“Each of us has a role in this. We can all control and influence how the virus impacts on the community, so we can all be part of it by washing our hands, by self-isolating with symptoms and to do whatever is necessary to flatten the peak demand for NHS services.

“We will never ever stop people getting the virus but what we want to make sure is that not everybody gets it at the same time.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.