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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S6W-00468
Asked by: Liam McArthur, Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats
Date lodged: 3 June 2021

Question

To ask the Scottish Government, to bring them in line with other forms of travel, what consideration it has given to reviewing social-distancing requirements on board ferries.

Current status: Answered by Graeme Dey on 16 June 2021


Answer

Physical distancing has been an important element in controlling the spread of COVID which is key to keeping our economy open and moving forward to recovery from the impacts of the virus.

Much work has been undertaken by operators in order to safely maximise capacity on ferries. The exemption from 10 July 2020 to allow 1 metre distancing on ferries, with appropriate risk mitigations, significantly increased passenger capacity, and continues to ensure that ferry services can support the reopening of the tourism sector that is so essential for the sustainability of island and rural economies, as well as enabling islanders to travel to the mainland.

The Scottish Government is reviewing physical distancing including its impact on transport, and an announcement of the outcome of this review is due shortly. Sectoral guidance will be updated to reflect the outcome of the review. Physical distancing has been an important tool for controlling the virus but, as with all restrictions, we will only have this in place as long as is necessary.