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Concerns tourists who develop Covid-19 could be stuck on Scilly

Concerns tourists who develop Covid-19 could be stuck on Scilly

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 8:38am 24th June 2020. (Updated at 8:41am 24th June 2020)

Written by Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter

Councillors on the Isles of Scilly are calling for guidance over what would happen if tourists develop coronavirus symptoms while visiting.

The islands have, to date, not had a single case of Covid-19 but businesses are keen to welcome back tourists and kickstart the economy.

Council of the Isles of Scilly chairman Robert Francis said that the islands’ economy was 100% reliant on tourism and there was a need to get visitors back.

However there is a need to make sure there is a plan in place in case a tourist develops symptoms while on the islands.

Government guidance states that anyone with symptoms should self-isolate for 14 days.

The issue was raised at a meeting of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Leadership Board last Friday.

st martins isles of scilly

“What would we do if a visitor to the islands was infected? Obviously they can’t go home in their car.

“We would have to make arrangements for them to stay in their accommodation, stay in alternative accommodation or indeed be transported back to the mainland.

“All of these scenarios pose significant issues. If a tourist has to stay in their accommodation you can’t rent your accommodation as someone is self-isolating – who pays for that?

“There are a number of issues that we are working really hard to resolve. We are hoping that we can get bespoke guidance for all of these issues as and when we are allowed to welcome tourists safely back to the islands.”

Council of the Isles of Scilly chairman, Robert Francis

Isles of Scilly

Commenting more generally about the virus Cllr Francis said: “We are very, very pleased to report that we had no cases on the Isles of Scilly. It has been a huge relief and help for our communities.”

He said that the islands had had support from Cornwall Council as well as the Government and Royal Navy. He said that support had been provided for the transport links to the islands.

Turning to tourism he said: “I should make you aware that 85% of our economy is based on hospitality on the islands. The other 15% is reliant on those hospitality businesses.

“We are effectively 100% reliant, rightly or wrongly, on tourism."