The Orkney public are being urged to continue to focus on the FACTS as the county moves into Level 0 Covid-19 restrictions from 5 June.
Chair of the Caring for People group in Orkney, Lynda Bradford, says whether you welcome Level 0 or are wary of the changes, following the Scottish Government’s FACTS guidance will help keep communities safe:
F - wear a face covering
A - avoid crowded places
C - clean hands and surfaces regularly
T - stay two metres away from other people
S - self-isolate and get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms
Caring for People is a task force of local public sector and voluntary organisations, including the Council, NHS Orkney and local support services, charged with helping the Orkney community recover and build resilience in challenging times.
Lynda, who is also Head of Health and Community Care for Orkney Health and Care, said: “It’s understandable that many will feel anxious about easing of restrictions, and I think we should all be mindful that everyone’s experience of covid-19, and their feelings towards restrictions easing, will be different – and we all need to respect that. This has been a very difficult period for many, and it’s important to stress that just because restrictions have eased and we can do more, you should not feel as though you should or have to.
“On the flip side, many people welcome the easing, but we’d reiterate it is vital folk continue to abide by the FACTS guidance.
“We would urge everyone to approach the easing of restrictions sensibly and with continued due caution and care.
“If you intend to mix with other households indoors, be aware this increases transmission risk – meeting with others outdoors is much safer. Make sure you stay within the numbers allowed, and be prudent about the amount of mixing you do. It’s clear from case numbers around Scotland that the pandemic is very much still a public health concern and we should continue to be vigilant, including here in Orkney.
“We’d also remind anyone who feels anxious or deflated at the moment that this is understandable – be kind to yourself and reach out for help. There are many local and national organisations ready and able to provide to support to anyone concerned about their own or someone else’s mental wellbeing.”
The Caring For People Group recently published a short guide to looking after your mental health and wellbeing, including a look at ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ – simple steps anyone can adopt to boost their wellbeing. You can find this guide – which includes links to national and local support services - on the Orkney Islands Council website.
Orkney remains in Level 1 restrictions until 5 June. Level 0 sees a slight increase in the limited number of friends and family you can meet indoors. For the latest advice on Coronavirus Restriction Levels and what you can and can't do, check the Scottish Government website:
According to latest Scottish Government guidance, the maximum number of people who will be able to meet socially indoors in a private dwelling (in a home) once Level 0 comes into effect in Orkney on 5 June is eight people from four households, including for overnight stays. (This is an increase from the Level 1 restrictions of 6 people from 3 households). Under 12s do not count towards the total number of people or households meeting outside but do count towards the number indoors.
Children under 12 do not need to maintain physical distance from others.
You can also go into another person’s home for certain essential reasons, such as for essential work, to join your extended household or to provide care and support for a vulnerable person. This can include providing emotional support for someone whose wellbeing is at risk, including for those who are isolated because of disability or a caring responsibility or where they are a parent or carer of a child under one.
When you meet people from another household indoors you:
- do not need to physically distance from family and friends in a private home.
- should minimise the number of meetings you have with people from other households each day.
- should maintain hand and cough hygiene.
- should avoid touching hard surfaces with your hands.
- should wash your hands when you arrive, when you leave, when you get home and especially before eating or after touching surfaces.
- should not share food or utensils.
- should keep rooms well ventilated, if possible – consider opening windows or a door.
Everyone in Scotland can now get two free covid-19 tests per week, delivered to their home within 1-2 days. Go to www.gov.scot/communitytesting