I was asked yesterday if it would be a good idea for someone in Poland to be arranging a holiday trip to Scotland for August or September. It made me think.
The current situation in Scotland is that the Covid 19 infection rate is very low, as is the death rate. Scotland had no deaths yesterday (11 July). As a result of that trajectory being sustained over a period, many “lockdown” restrictions are being relaxed gradually.
Pubs and restaurants are able to open for outdoor seating already. This week (on 15 July) they will be able to use indoor seating – vital during a Scottish summer! Accommodation will be able to resume business that day too.
The relaxations are all subject to compliance with hygiene and distancing requirements. Some places will not re-open as they will not be economically viable with a reduced number of customers.
Museums, theatres and cinemas can also re-open, subject to the same rules.
Golf resumed a while ago, but clubhouse facilities may be limited. Again, some places may not re-open if they cannot adapt to those rules or it would be too expensive to do so. Public transport services are not yet back to normal levels, but have increased a great deal. A face covering is required (as it is in shops).
Many more flights are now operating into and out of Scotland.
England has announced a list of 50+ countries which are exempt from the quarantine (14 days from arrival) requirements. The Scottish list is almost the same, but has excluded Spain and Serbia because the infection rate there is so high. Many on the list are British overseas territories.
All this progress depends on Scotland being able to keep the infection rate low in spite of the changes in behaviour which come with the relaxations. People importing the infection is a real concern. That could be Scots traveling abroad on holiday, or visitors bringing it with them. It is worth remembering that the remote parts of the country which visitors love are also the ones with very limited health facilities.
The biggest risk appears to be the high level of infection and deaths in England, and of the virus being brought to Scotland by visitors from England. The UK Government seems to have lost interest in publicising the testing and infection rates in England, and by way of comparison, England had 145 deaths yesterday.
The local lockdown which took place in Scotland recently was short lived, but others could happen to deal with local infections. As a visitor it would be a real concern to be caught up in that.
Ewa has decided to wait to see how things work out over the next 4 weeks. It seems sensible to me.
ⓒ iain taylor, 2020