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Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has welcomed this week’s announcement that the Western Isles will move into Covid Level 0 from Saturday.
The move means a further easing of restrictions with more people allowed to meet indoors and greater numbers able to attend weddings and funerals.
Comhairle Leader, Councillor Roddie Mackay, said it was good news and a significant step on the road to recovery.
‘Whilst we are not completely in the clear yet, people throughout our communities will be glad to see that we are making very good progress,’ he added.
‘As a community we need to continue to follow the rules that are in place. It is greatly encouraging that people have been taking the opportunity to get vaccinated and I would pay tribute to all those who have made this possible.’
It means that from this weekend up to eight people from four households can meet in eachother’s homes and can stay overnight; up to 10 people from four households cam meet in an indoor public place and up to 15 people from 15 households outdoors.
Up to 200 people will be able to attend weddings and funerals. Local licensing laws will apply to hospitality venues with no set nationwide closing time.
Anyone travelling to any of the islands is asked to use a lateral flow test before doing so to minimise the risk of taking the virus to island communities.
Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan also welcomed Tuesday’s announcement from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Mr Allan commented: ‘This comes as extremely welcome news after more than a year of individuals and businesses having to make great sacrifices to stop the spread of Covid our communities.
‘While today’s announcement does not mean there are no restrictions at all, it does mean that life in the islands should now move nearer to normal. This is only possible because of our high levels of vaccination and I would like to again pay tribute to the vaccination team at NHS Western Isles who have gone above and beyond in rolling out the vaccine locally.
‘I would urge anyone who is planning to travel to the islands to take lateral flow tests. They can be ordered online for free and taking them before travel will help reduce the risk of importing the virus.’