Letters / Why don’t we understand what essential travel is?

Covid-19 is here. It has been for some time. It is no secret. The country is suffering from the worldwide pandemic. Thousands of people are dying. Everyone is at risk. The country has gone into lockdown. This includes Shetland. People are being told to stay at home unless absolutely necessary. Do not travel unless absolutely necessary. Quite clear and simple instructions.

So why aren’t we? What don’t we get? Is it too hard to understand? Is the message not clear enough? Why aren’t we taking this serious?

Personally, for the last three weeks I have been keeping myself to myself. I have been told not to work so I am staying at home unless I absolutely have to venture out as advised by our government.

In that time I have been to Tescos twice, Frank Williamsons once and Sound Service Station once. I have been going out for my allocated exercise hour each day. I have survived fine but like everyone I am a bit bored at times and missing normality, however I feel that I’m doing my bit and being sensible and following the ‘lockdown’ guidelines.


For me it’s quite simple, if we take these measures seriously now – the sooner this will be over and we can get back to normal. Which is what everybody surely wants?

But there’s a substantial amount of people in Shetland who aren’t taking this seriously and not following the essential travel guidelines.

I’ve noticed on social media that local Chinese takeaways have re-opened and one actually had to close early due to running out of ingredients because they were so busy. As nice as it must be, surely a takeaway is a luxury and not a necessity?

Think this would class as unnecessary travel? Especially since I know certain people from as far as Voe have driven into town to pick up their order?

Become a supporter of Shetland News


When I ventured to Frank Williamsons to get some parts for an urgent electrical problem I was absolutely appalled at what I saw. People loading trolleys with wallpaper, fence paint etc! Now as nice as it must be to catch up on some DIY around the house with all this time on our hands, this isn’t what the lockdown is for.

A trip for wallpaper to spruce up your house isn’t essential and it certainly isn’t essential travel. Buildbase (Hays) have taken the sensible option to close, apart from their coal/fuel department – because heating your home is essential, DIY projects are not.

Certain businesses that sell cakes/fancies are also boasting that they had 40+ deliveries to make in a day. Now come on, I love a fancy more than anyone but it really isn’t essential – I’m not going to die if I don’t have a tiffin square. Driving around Shetland doing 40+deliveries of cakes to people’s houses is just ridiculous!


Like a takeaway, a cake is a luxury not a necessity! Come on people – stop looking for loopholes in what are pretty clear rules to follow.

One form of outside exercise a day for an hour – this doesn’t mean 2/3 walks a day because you have a dog (I have witnessed this first hand) you’re the same as the rest of us and your dog is to be walked once.

We are not allowed to go within a metre or two of people outside our households – this doesn’t mean driving to family or friends houses and thinking your being smart by sitting in their garden a metre or so away having a catch up – that is complete unnecessary travel and again it’s what the government are trying to stop.


I’ve even heard of people in my own family driving to others’ houses to drop off Easter eggs for the bairns, now I don’t want to sound mean but again, driving to someone’s house to drop off chocolate (however good the intention is) is completely unnecessary.

If your business sells a form of food (cakes) it doesn’t give it the same rules as the supermarkets or grocery shops to stay open. These ‘treats’ just seem to be tempting us all into unnecessary travel, from the sellers to the buyers.

In my opinion, all these home deliveries of takeaways or the people going to get them themselves is just unnecessary cars on the road. The government is trying to stop unnecessary travel, however it seems to be worse as ever.


I genuinely don’t want to come across as horrible or mean to anybody or to businesses but I feel as a small community we need to come together and be more sensible!

Limit the trips we make, have a little think before we do things. Businesses need to think ‘is what we sell actually essential?’ And the general public need to think ‘do I really need this or can it wait?’

As I said earlier it is hard not to want to carry on as normal especially since most of us now have a lot of time on our hands – however we simply can’t. We need to just sit and let this pass. The sooner we get back to normal the better.

John Robertson

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.