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Coronavirus / MSP says islands left with ‘uncertainty’ after Covid announcement

No clear path ahead for island communities, Wishart says

SHETLAND MSP Beatrice Wishart believes Scotland’s island communities are left with “uncertainty” following first minister Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement around the future easing of coronavirus restrictions.

Sturgeon said today (Tuesday) that on 26 April islands in level three, such as Shetland, will have the option to drop to level two, but there may be possible travel restrictions to the mainland.

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart. Photo: Shetland News

“Today’s statement made clear on what most of Scotland can expect in the next weeks and months, but the same is not true for our island communities, which have been left with uncertainty,” Wishart said.

“The first minister made reference to wanting to seek the views of islanders on future decisions which I welcome. There is no reason, however, why this could not have already happened prior to today’s statement.

“While the majority of Scotland prepare for the end of April it is disappointing that communities in Shetland have no clear path ahead.

“Ministers must provide urgent clarification about who is to be consulted and when a decision can be expected. If travel to and from the islands is indeed the main factor holding up a decision, the Scottish Government must step up efforts to put in place testing at entry points.

“The first minister talked about cautious optimism, which I welcome. What is disheartening is that after weeks of islands not being mentioned in statements by the first minister ,we have now had a statement where we seem again to be more of an afterthought.”

Shetland News has requested clarity from the Scottish Government around whether the islands could move into the current level two restrictions on 26 April, or a modified level two.

On 26 April mainland Scotland is due to move from level four into a modified level three. On 17 May it is hoped that those areas will drop into a level two which will include household socialising, but current level two rules does not allow mixing in other people’s homes.