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Transport / Travelling on inter-island ferries to meet family outdoors now permitted, SIC confirms

The Yell ferry Dagalien. Photo: SIC

PEOPLE are now allowed to travel on Shetland’s inter-island ferries to meet family members in an outdoors space as part of Scotland’s phase two of exiting lockdown.

The Scottish Government said in its updated rules today (Thursday) that “travelling to and from islands to visit family would be acceptable within this guidance, but individuals should consider whether they can do so while acting in line with all other guidance”.

Transport to leisure purposes like walking, however, still remains within a recommended five-mile limit from a person’s home.

For the last few weeks in phase one people have been allowed to travel to meet another household in outdoor spaces such as gardens, but internal ferries remained for essential transport only.

Chairman of Shetland Islands Council’s environment and transport committee Ryan Thomson confirmed, however, that people will now be allowed to travel on inter-island ferries to meet family from another household.

However, he encouraged people to continue to be “sensible” about the trips they are making.

The North Isles councillor added that the ferries would move from their current emergency timetable to a summer timetable at the end of the month.

“The first minister’s guidance is clear in that it is acceptable to travel to meet members of another household, including on our internal ferries here in Shetland to meet family, in an outdoor space,” Thomson said.

“We will be reverting to a summer timetable from Monday 29 June right across Shetland.

“I would urge people to please continue to be sensible around the trips they are making, and limit trips where possible.

“People are reminded to adhere to this guidance and wear face masks if you are going on board the ferries as a foot passenger.”

The Scottish Government’s latest guidance on transport and islands is as follows:

“Non-essential travel to and from the islands continues to be discouraged to prevent spreading the virus to more remote communities.

“In line with the guidance that people should not travel more than five miles for leisure or recreation, travel to the islands for those reasons is not encouraged.

“Travelling to and from islands to visit family would be acceptable within this guidance, but individuals should consider whether they can do so while acting in line with all other guidance.

“Ferry capacity will be increased throughout this phase, but capacity will remain limited.”

More information on phase two can be found on the Scottish Government website.