The Leader of Orkney Islands Council has welcomed news of a move to Level 0 of Scottish Government Coronavirus restrictions from 5 June - but reminds people a range of restrictions remains in place.
Leader James Stockan has welcomed the First Minister’s announcement today (1 June) that the county will be moving to Level 0 of coronavirus restrictions from Saturday.
Orkney joins Western Isles and Shetland in moving to Level 0 from Saturday, the only local authority areas to reach this milestone to date.
“We’re delighted we have made this continued progress as a county – this is a another step towards normality for our community.
“We of course look forward to the time when we are not in a Level at all. But this move to Level 0 - while it still involves social distancing and other measures - does give us more scope to do things we’ve not been able to do for some time, such as meeting with more households indoors and in restaurants and cafes.
“We’re making steady progress and that is testament to the Orkney community’s efforts and to visitors and the measures they have taken to help protect our community.
“It also reflects the success of the vaccination rollout, particularly here in Orkney, and I’d urge people to still come forward for vaccines to give us greater confidence to move out of Level 1 restrictions.
“While I welcome the Scottish Government announcement that Orkney will be moving to Level 0, some restrictions will still be in place and I would encourage everyone to know what those are.”
According to the Scottish Government official guidance, groups of up to eight people from four households can meet in each other’s homes – and stay overnight.
Groups of up to ten people from four households will be able to meet in indoor public places like a pub or restaurant, and you can meet in groups of up to 15 people from 15 households outdoors in a garden or public setting. Under-12s do not count towards the outdoor social limits but do count towards the number of households indoors.
With regard to hospitality, restaurants, pubs, cafes and other hospitality businesses can open and serve alcohol in line with their licensing conditions. Table service must remain in place, and face coverings must be worn by customers unless they are seated.
As to travel, you can travel anywhere in Scotland in Levels 0, 1 or 2 but must not enter a Level 3 or 4 area unless for a permitted reason such as caring for someone.
You can travel anywhere in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands - before you travel you must check the travel rules in those countries.
You should continue to work from home where that is possible.
Councillor Stockan stressed the need for everyone to continue to play a role in keeping all areas safe:
“I’d appeal for Orkney residents returning from trips away and anyone planning to visit to carry out lateral flow tests before entering the county – they are freely available and are a crucial tactic for keeping up progress made, and providing that extra level of protection to our remote community.”
The testing kits can be accessed free of charge through the lateral flow test home delivery system. You can register your details at www.gov.scot/communitytesting and follow the instructions under ‘Order coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow tests’. Once registered a pack of seven lateral flow tests will be delivered to your home within 1-2 days.
What are the Covid rules in Level 0?
According to the official guidance of the Scottish Government, the key rules of Level 0 restrictions are as follows. This is not an exhaustive list and you should check the Scottish Government website for more information.
- You can meet in groups of up to eight people from four households in each other’s homes – and stay overnight.
- You can meet in groups of up to ten people from four households in a public setting like a pub or restaurant.
- You can meet in groups of up to 15 people from 15 households outdoors in a garden or public setting.
- Under-12s do not count towards the outdoor social limits, but do count indoors.
- You can travel anywhere in Scotland in Levels 0, 1 or 2 but must not enter a Level 3 or 4 area unless for a permitted reason.
- You can also travel anywhere in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.
- All holiday accommodation, including self-catered settings and hotels, can open – but bedrooms should be occupied by only one household.
- The Scottish Government has introduced a risk assessment for international travel similar to the UK Government’s existing ‘traffic light’ system. Further information on this process, and details of the countries on each list, is available at https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-international-travel-quarantine/
- Restaurants, pubs, cafes and other hospitality businesses can open and servce food and alcoholic drinks as per their local licensing conditions.
- Table service must remain in place, and face coverings must be worn by customers unless they are seated.
Leisure and Entertainment
- Nightclubs and adult entertainment venues must remain closed.
- Trades people can carry out work and repairs in your home such as painting and decorating.
- People are urged to continue working from home wherever that is practicable. A limited and phased return to offices is permitted, working in line with all guidance.
- You can provide informal childcare, such as looking after a grandchild.