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By Hugh Boag
Arran has been sweltering in the sun for the past two weeks and more, and the fine weather looks set to continue over the weekend.
The Glasgow Fair last weekend brought a host of new visitors who, unusually, have enjoyed sunshine without the showers.
Temperatures have hit the mid-20s C and the beaches around the island have been packed – with some reporting it is the busiest they have ever seen them.
There is no doubt that the staycation boom on Arran has been good for businesses with hotels, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation heavily booked, despite continuing problems with ferry capacity.
Restaurants, bars and shops having been doing a roaring trade and visitors numbers are up at attractions across the island.
There was a welcome further bonus this week as Arran, along with the rest of Scotland, moved to level zero restrictions with pubs and restaurants no longer requiring bookings and able to stay open later.
However, unlike England, mask coverings will remain mandatory in Scotland ‘for some time to come’.
More people can now meet indoors and up to 200 people can attend weddings and funerals, with the next easing of restrictions, in Scotland, expected on August 9, although this could yet be delayed.
It comes as Arran recovers from the recent Covid-19 outbreak, as reported on page one, and next weekend, July 31, will see the last two cohorts receive their second jab – meaning the entire adult population, who want it, will be fully vaccinated.
Most businesses which had to temporarily close or reduce their hours have now reopened but visitors are being urged to follow the rules in place in shops, cafes and bars and recognise that sanitising, mask wearing and social distancing remain.
While the majority of us have been out enjoying the sun, Age Scotland is asking people to look out for older relatives and friends as the heatwave sweeps the country.
Older people are more at risk from heatstroke and other health conditions linked to extreme temperatures.
They are being urged to take precautions, including staying hydrated, staying inside during the hottest times of the day, and avoiding over-exertion.
Adam Stachura, Age Scotland’s head of policy, said: ‘While many of us are enjoying the summer weather, it’s important to remember that it can also bring health risks.
‘As we get older, we are more at risk of heatstroke, heat exhaustion and dehydration.
‘It makes sense to take a few precautions, such as wearing sunscreen, drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding strenuous exercise, and staying indoors during the hottest part of the day.
‘Keep your home cool by closing curtains and blinds and opening windows.
‘We would urge everyone to check on their older neighbours, friends and relatives, to make sure they are well and see if they need anything.
‘Something as simple as offering to open a window or bring a cold drink or bottle of sunscreen could make a big difference to someone’s health and well-being.
‘Remember to watch out for any warning signs, such as confusion, dizziness, or headaches, which could be symptoms of heatstroke or dehydration, and get medical help if necessary.’