Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has today written to the Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery, John Swinney, about concerns over apparent inconsistencies of the way restrictions are being applied.
Mr McArthur raised local parents' frustration over their inability to attend sports day events, in contrast to permission being given to ‘fan zones’ in Glasgow in the run up to the Euro 2020 championships.
Orkney’s MSP also highlighted differences in the way social distancing rules apply on ferry and air services. Mr McArthur asked the Cabinet Secretary for clarification as to when such rules around social distancing are expected to be revised.
Orkney with Shetland and the Western Isles were the first local authorities to move down to Level 0 on Scotland's route-map of Covid-19 protective levels on Saturday 5 June. Confusion has arisen from the use of the term Level 0, which is the lowest of the protective levels but still involves restrictions on indoor and outdoor socialising and to the hospitality sector.
Mr McArthur commented:
"As restrictions continue to be eased, there is understandable frustration at apparent inconsistencies in the way in which rules are applied.
“When Ministers are sanctioning fan zones in the middle of Glasgow, it’s hard to explain why parents are not permitted to attend school sports days in Orkney. This may be the result of guidance in relation to schools applying on a national rather than local level, but it is a bitter pill to swallow.
“Meanwhile, the difference in the way social distancing rules apply on ferry and air services is giving rise to concern, as more people are looking to travel. The limits placed on ferry capacity as a result of the 2m rule seem hard to justify when planes carry passengers who are sat next to each other.
“It is important that Ministers take these concerns on board to ensure continued public confidence in abiding by the rules."
Listen to Liam McArthur's interview on BBC Radio Orkney here: www.mixcloud.com/radioorkney/around-orkney-friday-11th-june-2021/?fbclid=IwAR39npJeu2dsLnxXlwo8oaVcvnmclETpUxFaObaiZMr79GTd4ksepTsAd3o