CNES Leader Roddie Mackay said: “This is very good news for the Islands. It is testament to our communities that this relaxation has been introduced. The Comhairle has been making the case for household meetings and as recently as yesterday evening we, together with our colleagues in Shetland and Orkney, met with Cabinet Secretary Aileen Campbell to continue that discussion. We are very pleased that Government has listened and responded positively. Of course the reason we have been able to do this is because people have been so compliant with the rules and guidelines and I would encourage everyone to continue doing so.”
Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed the easing of restrictions prohibiting household visits in the Western Isles.
Due to the risk of importation of the virus to the islands, the Scottish Government will be issuing clear guidance advising anyone who goes to or returns to the islands from the mainland to avoid in-house mixing for a period after their return.
Alasdair commented: “This is something I have been asking the Scottish Government about and I am really pleased that people will once again be able to visit each other’s houses – especially as we head into the dark winter months.
“Social isolation has been a real issue throughout the pandemic and the islands are in a unique situation with a lack of public transport or alternative meeting places such as cafes in rural areas. I hope this will bring a lot of comfort to people who have been struggling.
“If we continue to exercise caution and stick to the rules, the trend of easing restrictions will hopefully continue.”
Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands John Finnie has also welcomed the changes to coronavirus restrictions for the Western Isles.
However, Nicola Sturgeon also emphasised the continued risk of importing the virus to the islands and urged anyone returning from the mainland to refrain meeting other households indoors for a period of time.
He said: “Today’s announcement by the First Minister will be welcomed by people in the Western Isles, especially as we enter the height of winter.
“However, it’s important to recognise that the risk has not been eliminated and imported cases remain a risk. That’s why it’s vital that support is available for anyone who has returned from the mainland and has to self-isolate, to make