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Highland Council leader ready to welcome tourists back to the Highlands next month if and when Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased

By Ali Morrison

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A view of Stac Pollaidh from the Achiltibuie to Ullapool road.
A view of Stac Pollaidh from the Achiltibuie to Ullapool road.

HIGHLAND Council leader Margaret Davidson has said she is looking forward to welcoming tourists and visitors back to the Highlands in the middle of next month – if restrictions are eased, as expected, on July 15.

The Scottish Government recently published guidance for Scotland’s tourism and hospitality sector which could allow them to re-open safely on or after that date.

The industry has been asked to prepare themselves for a July 15 re-opening, if the necessary progress is maintained to allow the country to move to Phase 3 of the Scottish Government’s route-map out of lockdown.

Highland Council’s leader encouraged businesses to start planning and make use of the latest guidance to ensure maximum safety for both staff and visitors.

She also urged campervanners to use authorised camping/caravan sites to ensure safety and provide piece of mind that all the required facilities are available.

Council leader Margaret Davidson.
Council leader Margaret Davidson.

Cllr Davidson said: “I am pleased that we can all really look forward to welcoming visitors and tourists back to the Highlands next month.

“The lockdown has been extremely challenging for everyone, and especially for our businesses and all those working in the tourism and hospitality sector. I hope that we continue to make the steady progress we have been making in supressing the virus and that restrictions can be safely lifted on July 15.

“I know some people will be naturally anxious as restrictions start to lift across Scotland and visitors start to return.

"I know many of our businesses are being very thoughtful about how they open up and are working alongside their communities so that we are all confident as we go forward. We have good national and local guidance to help and we need to spread the emerging good practice for everyone to see. Tourism is the lifeblood of the Highlands and essential to our economy”.

The guidance for the tourism and hospitality sector sets out the key public health measures that will require to be taken to allow safe re-opening.

These include:

  • establishing physical distancing taking account of organisational capacity, queue management, signage and markings
  • enhanced hand hygiene measures and cleaning practice
  • advice on workforce planning, including training and equality issues
  • guidance for customers to ensure they know how to plan-ahead and engage safely with the tourism and hospitality sector.

The council said the guidance has been developed in partnership with the industry, unions and public health bodies.

The Scottish Government's tourism and hospitality sector guidance can be found on the Covid-19 Guidance page.

Additional local advice and guidance has been prepared and this covers matter such as planning for outdoor hospitality and licensing. This can be found on Highland Council's website.

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