Isles FM in association with Hebrides News - Friday 31st July 2020
COVID-19 WESTERN ISLES PUBLIC TRANSPORT PHASE 3
From Monday 3rd August, daytime bus services in Lewis and Harris and South Uist and Benbecula will revert to normal timetables with no requirement to book seats, with the exception of the bookable services on the regular timetable. Please note that fares will also be reintroduced from Monday.
Timetables are available on the Comhairle website.
The service contracts for North Uist and Berneray and Barra and Vatersay have yet to be concluded and this has delayed the reintroduction of services in these areas. Further details of bus services timetables for these areas will be made available as soon as possible.
Please remember that face coverings remain compulsory on any form of public transport and this includes all public bus services. Passengers will only be permitted to travel on public transport if they are wearing appropriate face covering. Exceptions will apply, such as children under five or for those with health conditions for whom a face covering would be inappropriate. Passengers will be expected to provide their own face coverings.
Where a screen has been provided, the driver will not be required to wear a mask or face covering. Medical exemptions will also apply to some drivers.
Face-coverings protect against inadvertent transmission of the disease and wearing a face covering will help to protect other travellers which will in turn help everyone. It is vital that passengers do not see face coverings as an alternative, but as an addition to other measures such as social distancing, hand washing and disinfection of surfaces frequently touched by other people.
All passengers should ensure that they wash their hands as soon as possible before and after travelling on public transport.
EDEN COURT CANCELS LIVE PERFORMANCES
Many Islanders who make a trip ‘over the water’ will be sad to hear that Eden Court have announced the cancellation of all live performances scheduled to take place in the Empire Theatre and the OneTouch Theatre until 04 December 2020, with plans in motion for a phased re-opening of cinema and a series of alternative events throughout the remainder of the year.
If you are a ticket holder for shows taking place before 04 December, you will be contacted by their Ticket Sales team at least one week before the performance date. Please be aware that the majority of their workforce is currently furloughed and the remaining staff are working through all bookings as quickly as possible, and have asked the Public to bear with them.
Despite the cancellations, they do intend to begin a phased re-opening of the building to the public in late September or early October.
£10,000 GRANT TO SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES
The Stornoway BID steering group has been awarded a £10,000 grant from Scottish Towns Partnership.
This funding is to be used to “promote and benefit” businesses throughout the Outer Hebrides and will be managed by the Stornoway BID Steering Group.
A project is due to commence in early August to create a free to use, comprehensive online Outer Hebrides business directory. An invitation to island businesses to tender for the design and build of the website is being issued in the next two weeks.
Stacey Macdonald, Stornoway BID project manager is co-ordinating the project.
The organisation said it remains “resolute” in the belief that a Stornoway BID will have a “very positive impact” on the local economy.
However, the wider project is currently on hold. Any resumption will be subject to review and guidance as issued from the Scottish and UK governments said the body.
FURTHER FUNDING FOR TOURISM
Two new funding packages worth £15 million will support the tourism sector as it continues to feel the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
A £14 million Hotel Recovery Programme will help to secure up to 3,000 jobs at Scotland’s larger hotels until the start of the summer 2021 tourism season. Eligible businesses can apply for individual grants of up to £250,000 in addition to a suite of wrap-around business support and advice.
The Programme will be jointly administered by the Scottish Government’s enterprise agencies and builds on the existing funding and support for tourism businesses through the Creative, Tourism and Hospitality Hardship Fund and the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund.
VisitScotland will also deliver £1 million in grants to self-catering businesses that have not received any other Scottish Government COVID-19 support. Businesses that apply and meet the criteria will be eligible for a one-off £10,000 grant to support them through the winter season.
Further details and opening dates for both funds will be announced in due course.
TAIGH DHONNCHAIDH 20th ANNIVERSARY E-CEILIDH TONIGHT
Taigh Dhonnchaidh the Arts Centre in Habost, Ness will celebrate its 20th
Taigh Dhonnchaidh, an intimate venue which promotes
Gaelic arts, will host an e ceilidh tonight at 8pm.
The line-up will include: tutors, guest musicians and workshop participants supporting Gaelic language and culture in the west of Lewis. The e-ceilidh will be on Taigh Dhonnchaidh’s Facebook Page tonight at 8pm.