Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Monday 8th June 2020

COVID-19: ROUTE MAP FOR WESTERN ISLES PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, are planning public bus services for the next phase of easing out of lockdown,

The current phase allows bus operators, to control passenger numbers and keep physical distancing to acceptable levels. The current status allows for a small amount of easing of travel restrictions.

As there has been a small increase in the number of businesses returning to work, requests for access to work transport has been extended, where practicable to non-key workers. Initially, this is on the same basis as the bookable service provided for key workers and bus services still have limited coverage.

Phase 2 recommends that Public Transport services should move to operating increased services, but with capacity significantly limited to allow for physical distancing.

It is therefore considered, that the next step when moving to Phase 2, will be to allow increased access to public bus services, while maintaining control of passenger numbers. This would be achieved by extending the scope of the current booking system but also moving closer to a regular timetabled service.

As there will be more passengers travelling on these services, passengers will be asked to wear face coverings when using public transport due to the increased risk of close contact when travelling on a bus. Passengers will be expected to provide their own face coverings.

Operators will be asked to display prominent signage on buses making it clear that physical distancing should be maintained and that face coverings should be worn.

Although face coverings are yet not required by law, it is being promoted as a precautionary measure for the health and safety of passengers and staff.

 

ALLAN DEMANDS BREXIT EXTENSION TO PROTECT ISLAND JOBS

Na h-Eileanan an Iar, SNP MSP Alasdair Allan, has called on the UK government to extend the Brexit transition period, in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The transition arrangements currently keep the UK close to the EU and can be extended for two years – beyond 31 December - if the UK Government asks for an extension by the end of this month.

But a new study from the Scottish Government says if an extension is not agreed, Scottish GDP could be up to 1.1% lower after two years.
Alasdair Allan MSP commented “Coronavirus is causing enormous economic disruption and people rightly expect government, to be putting all of its energy into protecting public health and the Scottish economy.
“It would be reckless in the extreme for the UK government to allow us to crash out of the transition period at the end of this year.

“The islands’ economy was already going to be disproportionately hit, by crashing out of the single market. But right now, island businesses are focused on securing their future – they simply don’t have the capacity to prepare for Brexit on top of a pandemic.

“The UK government must do the sensible thing, protect jobs in the islands and extend the transition period.”

 

SHOPPING IN LEWIS CROFTERS.

Lewis Crofters shop will open from 9:30 to 3.45pm, Monday to Friday, as from today, The shop will be implementing social distancing measures and other new processes.

Customers accessing the shop will be asked to park, at the front of the shop on Island Road, before entering the shop. To access the shop, entry will be by the porch on Island Road. Exit is into the yard, to follow a pathway out onto Rigs Road. This one-way system will allow customers to exit safely. There may have to be restrictions on the volume of customers in the shop at one time.

New guidelines in the store, will include hand sanitising, a one-way system around the shop. Customers are recommended to shop, as promptly as possible, to prevent holding others up and facemasks are advisable. All payments will be by bank card

Guidance for collection of larger items such as fencing materials will be given at time of ordering.