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Coronavirus / Travel to and from Scottish mainland to reopen this month

People will also be able to travel across Scotland to visit family and friends outdoors from this Friday (16 April)

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Photo: Scottish Government.

TRAVEL between Shetland and the Scottish mainland for tourism and hospitality is due to resume on 26 April, first minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

She later said, however, in her update today (Tuesday) that the government is allowing people to travel across Scotland from this Friday (16 April) for “outdoor socialising, recreation and informal exercise”.

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People would not be able to visit others indoors, meaning folk could not stay overnight. Under current restrictions holiday accommodation is open in the islands, but not on the mainland.

Household visits in Shetland are expected to return in mid-May – in line with the rest of Scotland.

Sturgeon said the government consulted with the islands as to whether communities wanted to drop from level three to level two on 26 April and keep restrictions on travel.

But the first minister said the government has decided to open up travel to and from the Scottish mainland first and keep the islands in level three.

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“Based on the balance of opinion, we have decided on the latter option – aligning islands with the rest of the country for a period so that travel, and therefore parts of the economy that so many islanders rely on, can operate more normally from 26 April,” she said.

Currently travel to and from the islands have been restricted to essential purposes.

Sturgeon said she expects the islands to move to level two on 17 May, which would allow people to socialise in other people’s homes in limited numbers.

She later said, however, that the government is allowing people to travel across Scotland from this Friday (16 April) to for outdoor socialising, recreation, and informal exercise.

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“Travel restrictions for wider purposes – such as leisure shopping, visiting hospitality premises or staying in tourist accommodation – will remain in place until 26 April, when these places will re-open and all travel restrictions within Scotland will be lifted.”

In another acceleration of restriction easing, Sturgeon also said that from this Friday up to six adults from up to six households will be able to meet outdoors.

She said the government is “extremely confident” for mainland Scotland to move to level three on 26 April.

The first minister also confirmed that restrictions on travel between Scotland and England and Wales is expected to lift on 26 April.

The first minister’s full statement can be read here.

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