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Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Maree Todd praises groups, businesses and people in Ross-shire and across the wider Highlands for community-spirited work to create face coverings during Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown

By Philip Murray

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One of the face coverings produced by Louise Innes.
One of the face coverings produced by Louise Innes.

COMMUNITY-driven efforts to produce face coverings for residents across the Highlands have been praised by an MSP.

Highlands and Islands MSP Maree Todd has hailed the many groups, small businesses and individuals across the region for their production of face coverings for their local communities.

And she highlighted the work of several – including an Ullapool-based group who have produced hundreds of face coverings in the past two months.

She was speaking after a review of lockdown restrictions made the wearing of face coverings mandatory on all forms of public transport in Scotland.

The new rules were part of wider efforts by the Scottish Government to ease lockdown restrictions while trying to minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

The easing is part of phase two of the Scottish Government's route map out of lockdown.

Following the announcement, Maree Todd took to Facebook and Twitter to identify local small businesses, community groups and individuals in the region who are selling and donating face coverings.

“I was delighted to hear from so many community groups, small businesses and individuals across the Highlands & Islands who are focussing efforts on producing face coverings to those in their local area," she said.

“Face coverings bring a benefit in reducing transmission of the virus which is why they have now been made mandatory on public transport.

Maree Todd MSP.
Maree Todd MSP.

"The Scottish Government is also strongly advising the use of face coverings in enclosed spaces such as shops. The First Minister confirmed yesterday [24 June] that a decision on whether this will become mandatory will be made next week.”

Donating all the materials and their time, the Mask Makers in Ullapool have produced more than 300 face coverings in the last eight weeks and have made a donation of over £900 to the Parish Hub.

Adding to community efforts, the Assynt Resilience Group organised by the Assynt Development Trust produced and distributed around 1,000 masks to the local community.

The Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust and the Coigach Community Development Company have too made efforts in this, producing and issuing face coverings to those throughout their community.

As a means of generating lost income, Inverness-based artist Louise Innes has been selling her own designs on face masks through her Louise Innes Art Facebook page. Louise has also donated a total of £550 worth of masks to vulnerable community members and groups, including her local food bank.

Commenting, Ms Todd added: “It’s incredible to hear of the power of work going into producing face coverings across the region. Those involved are real assets to their community and they have played a vital role in responding to the needs of their community during the health crisis.”

The Scottish Government has stated that medical and surgical masks are not necessary for wider public use, but instead a covering on the mouth and nose that is made out of cloth or other textiles will suffice.

There are exemptions for those unable to wear a face covering due to health reasons, and they should not be worn by children under the age of five.

Click here to read more coronavirus news.

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