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At the start of the pandemic in March we took the decision to make online access to our news free of charge by taking down our paywall. At a time where accurate information about Covid-19 was vital to our community, this was the right decision – even though it meant a drop in our income. In order to help safeguard the future of our journalism, the time has now come to reinstate our paywall,
However, rest assured that access to all Covid related news will still remain free. To access all other news will require a subscription, as it did pre-pandemic.
The good news is that for the whole of December we will be running a special discounted offer to get 3 months access for the price of one month. Thank you for supporting us during this incredibly challenging time.
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A second lockdown is not the start to 2021 any of us would have wanted.
However, if the scientific evidence shows it is the best way to curb the rapid spread of the new virulent strain of the Covid virus, it is in everyone’s interests that we comply in full.
It is being argued in some quarters that restrictions should be eased on Arran, given the low number of cases, to allow islanders to get on with their more normal daily lives. But given that mainland North Ayrshire just across the water has among the highest number of cases in Scotland, that would seem a risky strategy.
So for the time being, like Bute, Skye and Gigha, we will have to make the most of being under the toughest level 4 restrictions.
There may be little open as normal but again businesses on the island are showing their resilience by going online and offering takeaways and what other services they can to help people in this time of need. You will find many of these services listed in this week’s Banner as we, again, try to help.
By mid to late January, the first people on Arran to get the second approved OxfordAstraZeneca vaccine should be getting their injections, with the over 80s the priority.
But spare a thought for the beleaguered hospitality industry which had hoped that we may have turned a corner by Easter to allow much-needed trade to resume. However, even a cautious estimate from the First Minister suggests it will be May before there is significant progress with the vaccination programme.
So for now it looks like we will have to hunker down, hope that the second Covid wave will be controlled soon and look forward to summer.