Unlocking the Lockdown
The following state of affairs is expected to continue until early January.
The Outer Hebrides are at Level 1 of the Scottish Government’s Coronavirus control measures. Additionally, the islands benefit from a concession that up to 6 people from two households can meet in private homes – which includes exclusive self-catering accommodation such as Carrick Eriskay. (The 5-day Christmas relaxations do not apply to self-catering accommodation.) However, those who live in Scotland under the rules for Level 3 or Level 4, or live in England Wales or any part of Ireland, are not permitted to travel to Scotland for holiday purposes, (including not during the 5-day Christmas relaxation).
Calmac’s timetable for winter 2020-2021 will be as near to normal as our ferries have been since, well, the last winter. Currently, social distancing on-board is reduced to one metre (if combined with face masks, frequent hand sanitizing, and other personal safety measures appropriate to the circumstances). Bookings can again be made months in advance of travel.
Even before the age of coronavirus, we had a hard-earned reputation for cleanliness and presentation. Now, our procedures include disinfecting and sanitizing that conforms with UK-wide government guidelines for cleaning in non-healthcare settings and best-practice guidelines developed through collaboration across the UK self-catering sector and endorsed by the scottish government. Our detailed procedure is based on AirBnB’s Enhanced Cleaning Protocol. We’re ‘Good To Go‘ : what about you?
The additional specialist equipment, labour and consumables has added very significantly to our ‘turnaround’ costs. We’re able to absorb some of the increase, but the affect on short bookings is so significant that we have no choice but to modify our pricing model, so as to ensure that bookings of less than a week contribute meaningfully towards the additional costs. It’s not all bad news, however : the price for bookings of about a week will not noticeably change, and longer bookings – especially those of a fortnight or more – will cost slightly less than they would have cost before the changes. It is, surely, only fair that those staying for longer don’t subsidize those staying only for a short break, or that a couple don’t subsidize a large family or group of friends.
The need for enhanced cleaning will be reviewed at least monthly, and any changes that are necessary will be implemented promptly. Whilst we would certainly not retrospectively increase charges, we may, if appropriate, retrospectively reduce or eliminate the additional charges, and refund to the guest the savings.
What’ll be Open ?
We can’t tell you what shops, restaurants and attractions will be open during your stay, but the islands’ tourist industry website VisitOuterHebrides does have information on what’s open right now.
Updated 2020-11-26 @ 08:21