Ferries to Scottish Islands closed to all but essential trips

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On Sunday (March 22), the Scottish Government made the decision to close ferries to all but essential travel by islanders and suppliers.

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced that only those who live on islands would be allowed to use ferries for ‘essential supplies or business’. Visitors to the islands are allowed to leave in order to reduce pressure.

She went onto say that all hotels, B&Bs and other holiday accommodation should not be accepting new visitors, but making themselves available for emergency services.

Residents of Alasdair Allan’s Outer Hebrides constituency (Na h-Eileanan an Iar), have been pushing for this ban to come into place following articles painting the islands as a perfect place to isolate.

Mr Allan said: ‘Scotland’s islands are communities, full of families and people – many of them in groups particular at risk due to coronavirus. They are not refuges from coronavirus and it is frankly outrageous that articles in some newspapers like the Daily Mail should try to paint them as such.

‘I have spent much of this weekend speaking to constituents, Scottish Government ministers and CalMac about this issue, and I am grateful for the swift action and the announcement from the First Minister.

‘While this should help to limit the spread of coronavirus to the islands, we cannot allow any room for complacency. People need to behave as it is already here and follow the advice from the Scottish Government and public health officials on hand-washing and social-distancing. This is a matter of saving lives.

‘The Western Isles has achieved a well-deserved reputation for our hospitality, and for welcoming people from all over the world. We will still be here once this pandemic has subsided and tourists will be very welcome to visit then.’

This is a developing situation and information about ferry timings and changes can be found on the CalMac website: calmac.co.uk