It is now a little over a week since the people of Scotland were given a wee bit of freedom from the Covid-19 lockdown, with Phase 1 on the Route Map back to some sort of “new normal” starting on 29/5/20. This is great news for everyone, as it signals that the spread of the virus is under much better control. Obviously, far fewer people catching the virus and becoming seriously ill has to be positive; but, nobody will want to rush the process and then see the numbers rise again – it has taken more than enough of a toll already!
For the tourism sector, lifting restrictions on accommodation looks like it would happen in Phase 3, at the moment. However, there are ongoing discussions that self-catering businesses may be able to open sooner, as there is considered less risk of spreading infection through social contacts than in a hotel. The accommodation can also be thoroughly cleaned and sanitised between groups of guests. Certainly, at Glencoldon cottage, our great turnaround team has ensured we are well prepared for extra cleaning and sanitising.
But, in the Highlands and other remote areas, where there is a relatively low rate of infection, it would seem that the largest concern about lifting the restrictions is that many visitors would be travelling from areas with much higher rates. And some areas can get very busy in the summer months. So we need to wait to see what the science and experts say, although Malcolm Roughead, the Chief of Visit Scotland, did sound hopeful that July would see a restart.
We will maybe get a bit more of a guide on when visitors can return, when the Scottish Govt brings out its sector guidance soon – this should be by 18/6/20. We would like everyone to understand, though, that whatever may be decided at a national level, Glencoldon Cottage will not reopen until the local community is happy to have visitors moving freely through the village again.
Here’s hoping that the ospreys won’t have been and gone back to Africa before we can all enjoy seeing them again, and all the many other natural wonders of Strathspey and the Cairngorms National Park!