CNES MEETINGS WITH CAL-MAC COMMUNITY BOARD
Representatives of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, met with Cal-Mac’s Community Board, Chair Mr Angus Campbell and Western Isles Board members, to discuss some of the pressing issues around ferry services changes, how they impact the Islands and how the views of residents influence that process.
Both the Comhairle and Western Isles Community Board members agreed, that priority for travel going forward, should focus on key workers, island residents and friends and family, living on and from the islands, while maintaining a safe environment for everyone.
A range of ferry travel issues were discussed, including foot passengers and booking arrangements, capacity for residents, health appointments, campervans, pet travel, and social distancing.
A further meeting being held this week which will include Dr Alasdair Allan MSP.
Read more: Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Thursday 2nd July 2020
PUBLIC TRANSPORT BUS SERVICES
Phase 2 of public bus services, begins in the Western Isles today. Moving to Phase 2 provides increased services, but capacity remains significantly limited, to allow for physical distancing. During this time, travel at peak times is still to be discouraged, unless travelling to and from work.
The services currently being provided for key workers, is now integrated with the new services. In order to manage safe numbers, passengers wishing to use the Phase 2 public bus services, will be required to book a seat for the majority of services.
Timetables and contact details for local bus operators, are available on the Comhairle website. Face coverings are now compulsory, on any form of public transport and passengers will only be permitted, to travel on public transport if they are wearing appropriate face covering.
Read more: Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Wednesday 1st July 2020
CORONAVIRUS BUSINESS SUPPORT SCHEME
The Scottish Government’s, Coronavirus Business Support Scheme, has paid out nearly £8 million to businesses in the Western Isles. The government has brought forward the deadline for submission of applications to 10 July 2020.
Eligible businesses must ensure that applications are submitted before this date.
The 3 categories of grant are aimed at supporting businesses, through protecting jobs, preventing closure and assisting with recovery:
Small Business – grants of up to £10,000 are available to businesses in receipt of specific categories of rates relief.
Retail, Hospitality and Leisure – grants of up to £25,000 for businesses with properties in these sectors and with Rateable Values in a specified range.
A recent change to the scheme has extended the grants to tenants of ratepayers of business properties, where they can show that a lease is in place, staff are employed and that they have a business bank account.
Read more: Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Tuesday 30th June 2020
FACE MASKS IN HOSPITAL
As from today, following the release of new national guidance, it will be a requirement for all staff, patients attending for appointments, and visitors, to wear a face mask, in clinical areas in hospitals in the Western Isles
At Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway, Ospadal Uibhist agus Bharraigh in Benbecula and St Brendan’s in Barra, everyone will be asked on arrival, to remove any face coverings they are wearing. Masks, along with alcohol based hand rub and bins, will be located outside clinical departments in the hospitals.
NHS Western Isles Nurse & AHP Director/Chief Operating Officer, William Findlay, stated: “This new measure is important because it is recognised that some people are unaware that they have the virus and do not have any symptoms. The use of face masks in clinical areas will help to prevent transmission of the virus, from the person wearing the face mask, to other people.”
Read more: Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Monday 29th November 2020