Scotland's Covid lockdown rules: What’s the difference between a plane and a ferry? – Brian Wilson

I flew from Inverness to Heathrow this week on a BA flight with every seat taken.

Passenger limits on Caledonian MacBrayne's ferries are subject to an anomaly in Scotland's Covid rules (Picture: John Devlin)
Passenger limits on Caledonian MacBrayne's ferries are subject to an anomaly in Scotland's Covid rules (Picture: John Devlin)

There was, by definition, no social distancing. We all wore masks and service inter-actions were minimal. All absolutely fine with me and, presumably, the Scottish Government

Contrast this with the regime on Caledonian MacBrayne ferries – wholly owned by the Scottish Government and subject to it edicts and irrationalities. They continue to operate at 30 per cent passenger capacity, on top of all the other woes that have befallen communities dependent on the ageing fleet.

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As a result of this restriction, islanders working on the mainland cannot book even passenger journeys to come home at weekends (or vice versa). Sports councils throughout the islands united this week to accuse ministers and CalMac of disregard for public health by effectively preventing sports teams from travelling for competition. And so on – every area of island life is affected.

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This is certainly not the Covid-rules anomaly which affects the largest number of people in Scotland. There is plenty competition for that title. But it has one thing in common with all the others – the total absence of detailed explanation, despite the ubiquity of the First Minister and Professor Leitch.

So just this once, please tell me – why is it considered safe to travel on a packed plane, where you can’t even open the windows, but verboten to carry a comparable number of people within the vastly greater, well-aired expanses of a publicly owned ferry? And no, I don’t expect an answer.

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