Hospitality waits and hopes for good news next week

Lauren McAllister and Danny Byrne run together. Achilles is aimed at helped people of all abilities to take part in mainstream running events.
Lauren McAllister and Danny Byrne run together. Achilles is aimed at helped people of all abilities to take part in mainstream running events.

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The hospitality industry on Arran is waiting with bated breath for the expected announcement by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon next week as to when it can reopen.

Ms Sturgeon has said she will set out a firmer, indicative timetable for the re-opening of the economy, including parts of the tourism industry, shops and hairdressers.

In other changes, up to four adults from two different households can from today (Friday) meet outdoors. Restrictions on young people have also been eased, with four people aged between 12 and 17 years able to meet, even if they are from different households.

Outdoor non-contact group sports for adults can also restart and people will be able to gather for communal worship from March 26, so long as no more than 50 people are in attendance and physical distancing is maintained.

Primary four to seven school pupils not already back in class will make a full return from Monday and there will be the resumption of some classes for senior pupils at Arran High School, ahead of a full return after the Easter holidays.

Meanwhile the roll-out of the vaccination programme continues apace on Arran with NHS Ayrshire & Arran inviting those aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions to roll up their sleeves for their COVID-19 vaccinations and 138,465 people vaccinated in Ayrshire and Arran by the beginning of March.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran chief executive John Burns said: ‘The vaccination programme is running very well and I want to thank our vaccination teams who have stepped forward to help us deliver this important programme as well as the 138,000 people who have taken up their appointment to roll up their sleeve and be vaccinated.

‘I know from the enquiries we are receiving, people are keen to know when they will get an appointment and I want to reassure that appointments will be sent in accordance with the JCVI guidance. We would also ask that when you are invited for the vaccine that you please come forward to your appointment. It provides the best protection against coronavirus.’

Anyone aged 70 or over who has not yet been invited for their vaccine should visit for further advice or call the national helpline on 0800 030 8013.

Meanwhile, rapid coronavirus testing is now available for people without symptoms in North Ayrshire, but only on the mainland.

The community testing initiative, in partnership with the Scottish Government, Scottish Fire and Rescue, University of West of Scotland and the three local authorities in Ayrshire and Arran, aims to drive down local COVID-19 rates and transmission by identifying positive cases more quickly, as people can spread the virus to others before symptoms appear.

Ayrshire residents who don’t have any of the three COVID-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, high temperature, loss or change in sense of taste or smell) are encouraged to get tested.

Lynne McNiven, director of public health, explained: ‘Testing will help us to identify more cases of the virus and give us all a better chance of stopping it from spreading.

‘It is important you are tested regularly, particularly if you are a key worker and must attend work. These centres are there to be used as regularly as you need to. Make sure you check the website regularly so you know when we are in your area.’

There is no need to book and testing is available seven days a week from 10am to 6pm at Castlepark Community Centre in Irvine and Ardeer Neighbourhood Centre in Stevenston.

These sites are only for people without symptoms. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should book a test in the usual way via or by calling 0800 028 2816.