Updated 18 May 2021
Lockdown restrictions have been eased across Scotland. Here we look at what that means if you're planning a trip to Shetland this summer.
When can I book a trip to Shetland?
Currently you can travel to Shetland from Scotland and other parts of the UK. This includes travellers from England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man.
Shetland, and most other island communities in Scotland, are now in Level 1, while most of mainland Scotland has moved to Level 2 (except Moray and Glasgow, which remain in Level 3). Unrestricted travel is allowed within Scotland (with the exception of Level 3 areas) and overnight stays with family and friends are allowed in line with rules on indoor gatherings.
People must not travel to places in Level 0, 1, or 2 areas if they are from a Level 3 or 4 area, except for essential purposes.
As ever, the situation can change at any time, so for the latest travel updates, please refer to the Scottish Government guidelines.
Do I need to take a Covid test before I travel?
Those travelling to Shetland and other Scottish islands are being encouraged to take lateral flow tests ahead of their visit - one three days before and one on the day. If a positive result is returned from the initial test people are encouraged to take a more sensitive PCR test before making a final decision on whether to cancel their visit.
Lateral flow tests are free to order for anyone living in Scotland. To find out more about this and how to order, check the Scottish Government website.
Can I travel from abroad to Shetland?
The Scottish Government has introduced a risk assessment for international travel similar to the UK Government’s existing ‘traffic light’ system. This means the following requirements for both residents of Scotland on their return and overseas visitors:
- Arrivals from red list countries are required to enter a managed isolation hotel and stay there for 10 days.
- Arrivals from amber list countries, which are the majority of countries, should self-isolate at home (or if a visitor from another country, their accommodation on arrival) for 10 days, and take two PCR tests while they are isolating.
- Arrivals from green list countries are not required to quarantine or isolate on arrival in Scotland, but need to take a PCR test shortly after arrival.
Further information on this process, and details of the countries on each list, is available in the Scottish Government's international travel guidance.
Can I book accommodation in Shetland?
Tourist accommodation reopened in Shetland to visitors on 26 April.
Now Shetland is in Level 1 you can meet socially in groups of up to six people from three households in self-catering accomodation and stay overnight. Children under the age of 12 from these households do not count towards the total number of people permitted to meet. Note: a bedroom should be occupied by members of only one household (or extended household).
Will shops, hospitality and tourist attractions be open?
Yes, many shops, hospitality businesses and tourist attractions are already open. But, please note, some businesses and tourist attractions have decided to remain closed for the 2021 season or to operate at reduced opening hours. Most places are also reviewing their plans on an ongoing basis as the situation progresses. To avoid disappointment, we suggest you research the things you want to do and places you want to see before you get here. We also advise booking restaurants and visitor attractions in advance, where possible.
General guidance for visitors
Continue to wash your hands regularly and use hand sanitiser in shops and visitor attractions where it is provided.
- Wear face coverings in all shops and on public transport. You must also wear face coverings in pubs, cafes and restaurants when not seated at your table.
- Check notices on the doors and windows of shops, visitor attractions, cafes etc., as they may be limiting the number of people they allow in.
- Use contactless payment in local shops as much as possible.
- Maintain the 2 metres social distancing guidelines, although this can be reduced to 1 metre on public transport and in retail outlets and indoor and outdoor hospitality venues, where agreed risk mitigation is in place.
Although the vaccine continues to be successfully rolled out across the UK, it is still vitally important that everyone remain vigilant and follows the latest NHS guidelines.
We look forward to welcoming you to Shetland.