Orkney Islands Council is reminding the community that face coverings will become mandatory on public transport from Monday (22 June) in line with Scottish Government requirements.
This will apply when people are travelling on Orkney Ferries’ vessels, Stagecoach buses, on Loganair flights and when using local taxis and private hire cars.
The move was announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and is aimed at reducing the risk of Covid-19 transmission as Scotland begins to move into Phase 2 of recovery from lockdown.
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson explained: “Our message remains clear that public transport should be for key workers and those who need it most.
“Capacity is reduced to enable physical distancing and operators are not yet running full services. Transport operators continue to play a key role in supporting essential travel and in ensuring passenger confidence in public transport while maintaining physical distancing. The use of face coverings forms a fundamental part of gaining that public trust.
“We are asking people to take personal responsibility to do the right thing. Wearing a face covering while on public transport means you are playing your part in the collective effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus and reducing the risk to your fellow citizens.”
In line with this, the Council is asking people to provide their own face coverings when travelling by ferry, bus, plan, taxi or private hire cars. People who are not able to wear a face covering for specific medical reasons will be exempt, as will children under five.
Orkney Ferries timetables are currently being revised in consultation with Community Councils in the North and South Isles. It is hoped that an enhanced service can be provided after Monday 29 June.
Further information about this will be provided next week.
In the meantime, the Council is asking public transport users to please be patient and consider others needs when planning future travel – and thanking people for their help and co-operation with this.
Advice on face coverings, including how to make one and instructions for using one, will be available on the Transport Scotland website. This advice is being updated to include full details of the applicable exemptions.