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Transport / Ferries can be used to visit friends as well as family, NorthLink confirms

Capacity of both the NorthLink passenger and freight boats have come under scrutiny over recent years. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News

NORTHLINK Ferries has clarified that people are able to use the boat to visit friends – and not just family as previously specified.

Its current guidance, updated on Tuesday, states: “Journeys with NorthLink Ferries will be restricted to essential travel, key workers, and for those visiting friends and family.”

Last week it was announced that travel on ferries to and from islands to visit family in an outdoor space would be allowed as part of phase two of Scotland exiting lockdown.

On Monday the NorthLink passenger ferries reverted to their usual timetable, although capacity has been reduced to 20 per cent to allow social distancing measures to be implemented.

NorthLink’s guidance adds: “Travel to and from the islands for leisure and recreation by ferry is not encouraged. Tourism has not restarted and tourist facilities including accommodation will not be open.

“It is not possible to stay away from home overnight except in certain clearly defined circumstances, such as in the creation of an ‘extended household’.

“We would ask that all travellers consider whether they are adhering to the spirit of the government guidelines.”

People are reminded that they should only travel if they can adhere to all other government guidelines.

Face coverings, meanwhile, are required for travellers within ferry terminals and walkways.

They are not required on the ferries as the two-metre rule can be maintained due to the size of the ships.