Phase Reopening of Islands

When islands are opened for non-essential travel suggest this is done in a phased manner. Initially would suggest that day trippers not allowed (passengers could be required to show accommodation booking or proof of residence). Additionally would suggest that any form of wild camping (for both tents and camper vans) is forbidden initially (again to allow a controlled reopening of the islands). Initially hotels etc could perhaps open at a reduced capacity, increasing over time if no increase in infections arose.

Why the contribution is important

Currently the islands are closed to all but non-essential travel. Many are likely to have a huge surge of visitors when they reopen. Many residents are understandably fearful of this bringing a surge in infection to areas with v limited medical facilities. However, many islanders depend heavily on tourists for their income and are keen for visitors to return. Reopening on a phased basis would seem to be the best way to balance these two issues.

by DMC on May 09, 2020 at 10:30PM

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Average rating: 4.0
Based on: 7 votes

Comments

  • Posted by jennyw May 10, 2020 at 09:06

    I agree, I also feel owners of second homes should qualify as a residents. They need to check and maintain property and are paying for utilities as well as council tax. Insurance may be void because of lack of occupancy.
  • Posted by Robert1000 May 10, 2020 at 10:13

    I have a second home on Scottish island. Ironically the ferry to the island and the space on the island means you are rarely within 5 metres of anyone- never mind 2. The reality, however, is the debate is hijacked by the Facebook minority who will also be the same ones wanting off the island to visit shops and cities. There are also people who don't rely on employment income pushing to keep things closed. I respect that but the strategy should cover everyone and recognise everyone's situation. The damage being done to business- who predominantly survive because of a 4 month period- is being drastically underestimated and the cash situation of many of these business's means they will not survive. We need a new way to live and it can be done with the social distancing 3 times that of the mainland!
  • Posted by Islander64 May 10, 2020 at 14:17

    Think it should be on an island by island basis...they are all very different in terms of population and infrastructure..The island I live on is small , a ten minute ferry trip to the mainland and with one town.....most of the houses are flats in Victorian buildings. A large proportion (one third) of the population are pensioners..During the summer when the second homers and the tourists arrive the population swells on a huge level to about seven times more than during the winter and there isn’t much room at all. The ferries are mobbed the buses are mobbed, huge queues with day trippers etc. Calmac reported 20,000 visitors in one day last summer. There would be virtually no room for social distancing. I honestly have a lot of sympathy for people with second homes being unable to access them...the same as people with second homes in Spain or Turkey being unable to access theirs. Most of the businesses on the island are being supported to a certain extent by the government grants just now and some have diversified. There is no doubt though that most will suffer. It is what it is. However, as most people with businesses live with their families on the island they know what the situation is here. There is no way our wee island could cope or cater for an influx of tourists without all of the businesses being up and running again. Even then, there is no way we could maintain social distancing or cope with the Pre-Covid numbers of visitors until a vaccine is available for the residents...herd immunity would not apply here as there have only been a handful of cases reported and dealt with. ..As far as this place is concerned restrictions on tourism need to be the last of the restrictions to be lifted. I have several friends with second homes on the island and miss seeing them but they know what the situation is here and are being responsible and reasonable about it.
  • Posted by Jay32 May 10, 2020 at 16:48

    It is too soon
  • Posted by patiencetiree May 11, 2020 at 12:28

    I agree that a phased opening of the islands would be prudent. We have generally managed to remain infection free due to the decision to restrict travel . We should not be put at risk by a unilateral decision to open the islands to all comers. My suggestion would be to phase the opening slowly to make sure that at each step we do not risk the lives of our elderly and vulnerable population. There are significant numbers of owners of summer homes on the islands ,who do not rent their homes to visitors and who would respect the need to keep the indigenous population safe. These are the people who spend long periods ( several months) on the island and would be in a position to come and self isolate for 2 weeks . This could be considered as Phase 1 and the impact assessed ( no new Covid 19 cases) before any further unlocking actioned.
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