Shetland Nature is proud to be part of the ‘We’re Good to Go’ scheme, which was developed by VisitScotland in partnership with VisitEngland, Tourism Northern Ireland and VisitWales. The ‘We’re Good to Go’ logo shows you that businesses have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and are working hard to follow government and public health guidance and have everything in place to operate safely. Plus, as the scheme has now been adopted into the existing international ‘Safe Travels’ scheme, Shetland Nature is now recognised by the World Travel & Tourism Council for our health and hygiene protocols.
During your tour with Shetland Nature, your guide will ensure that everyone understands our COVID-19 operating procedures, which are simple to follow guidelines that you have more than likely already adopted as part of your daily life.
In the event of government advice changing so that we are not allowed to run tours, if you are currently booked on a tour you will be given the option to: carry forward your booking, along with any payments made, to the same tour the following year; transfer your booking to a later tour in the current year; or cancel your booking for a full refund.
As with any travel we strongly recommend that you have travel insurance. Do check this covers any last-minute tour cancellation due to COVID, as well as any travel undertaken to get to and from the tour.
Whether you are interested in joining us on a day trip, a small group tour or having us tailor-make a bespoke tour for you and your friends or family, we’d be more than happy to discuss the options with you. Please note that any new booking will only be accepted on the proviso that if the trip is unable to go ahead due to COVID-19 restrictions the trip will be suspended.
- The safety of everyone on our tours is our top priority and, as such, we encourage every traveller to take a lateral flow test three days before travel, on the day of travel (and on the day of arrival if different) and then again mid-week whilst on the tour. Tests can be ordered free of charge and in advance to your home address from this link.
- We ask that all guests bring two tests with them on their trip to test on arrival (if needed) and mid-week, but our guides will also have some available for use.
- Our guides will be following the same testing procedure and will also be receiving vaccines in line with eligibility guidelines.
- By joining a tour guests agree to make us aware if they test positive for COVID-19 at any point before or during the trip.
- We request that all travellers bring sufficient masks to cover the duration of the trip (although our guides will also carry extras if needed). If using reusable masks we ask that a minimum of two are brought to allow for washing after use.
- Guests must self-health check and declare to their guide as soon as possible if they do feel any COVID-19 symptoms. It would be beneficial for guests to bring a thermometer to keep track of their temperature. Guests must declare to us if they have had COVID-19 or COVID-19-like symptoms.
- We request that guests do not travel if they feel unwell or are symptomatic before the tour. In the event that you have to cancel your tour with us, our standard terms and conditions regarding cancellations would apply and we do therefore recommend a travel insurance policy that will cover this cost for you.
- We sincerely hope that guests will follow with good grace all guidelines and procedures set out by their guide and any suppliers we use, to help us operate tours safely for all.
Current COVID-19 Situation in the U.K. and Scotland
To stay informed, we recommend you visit the UK Government website as well as the Scottish Government site which provide regular updates.
We find this webpage which tracks Scottish COVID-19 data daily hugely useful to understand what the incidence of the virus is in the regions in the area in which we run our tours – Shetland.
Travelling from Outside the U.K.
If you are travelling from outside the UK then you must review the contents of this section of the Scottish Government guidance before considering travel to Scotland.
We recommend you also check your own government advice with regards travel to the UK and Scotland in particular.
Lateral Flow Tests
The safety of everyone on our tours is our top priority and, as such, we encourage every traveller to take a lateral flow test three days before travel, on the day of travel, and then again mid-week whilst on the tour.
Tests can be ordered free of charge and in advance to your home address from this link.
We ask that you bring enough tests with you on your tour to test on arrival (if different from the day of travel) and mid-week, but we will also have some available for use.
Our guides will be following the same testing procedure and will also be receiving vaccines in line with eligibility guidelines.
By joining the tour you agree to make us aware if you test positive for COVID-19 at any point before or while you are on the trip.
Please take extra care to read through any pre-trip information you are sent, paying particular attention to the COVID-19 details and requirements, such as pre-tour COVID-19 testing requirements, bringing your own face masks, and being aware of any rules which apply in Scotland which may be different to the rules where you live.
We would like to draw your attention to the section on this page named ‘Guest Responsibility’ where you will find important details to help you prepare ahead of and during your visit.
Please also check with your airline/train/ferry company about any specific requirements they may have in place for your journey to Shetland.
NHS Scotland Test and Protect App
The ‘Protect Scotland’ app from NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect is a free, mobile phone app designed to help us protect each other and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The app will alert you if you have been in close contact with another app user who tests positive for COVID-19. And if you test positive, it can help in determining contacts that you have otherwise missed while keeping your information private and anonymous.
If you would like to download this app then please do so here.
Wearing a Mask
You will need to wear a mask while travelling in our vehicles and in other locations specified by government regulations (e.g. shops).
There may be occasions when you need to put a mask on briefly – for example, if your guide is assisting you with some equipment.
Notwithstanding this advice, for the most part whilst out of doors on your tour, you will not be expected to wear a mask.
Guides will remind guests of the latest social distancing guidelines from the government at the start of the tour. Should all social distancing guidelines have been relaxed, we still feel it is best practice when it is within reason to do so. We would ask all guests to respect their fellow travellers’ preferences when it comes to this as well.
Vehicles and Equipment
Whilst in the tour minibus, all passengers will be asked to wear face coverings and windows will remain open, where practicable, to provide fresh air circulation.
All vehicles will be subject to enhanced cleaning.
Hand sanitiser will be available in the minibus.
All of our equipment that may be borrowed by guests on a tour, such as binoculars and photographic equipment, will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before being re-issued. Any equipment you are given will be yours throughout the trip, wherever possible, rather than it being shared. Of course, our guides will be able to clean and disinfect equipment as required during the tour.
Hygiene advice has not changed since the start of the outbreak, so we reiterate it below as so often the basic messages get lost in all the noise.
Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap for at least 20 seconds is a key method of avoiding contracting and spreading any germs while travelling and is seen as particularly important to avoid COVID-19. If handwashing and soap are not available then hand sanitiser is recommended.
Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose unless your hands are clean.
Avoid close contact with people that look or feel unwell, their personal items and any surfaces they may have touched. Maintaining a distance of over 1m is recommended by the World Health Organisation.
If you are on any medication, then pack additional supplies should your return home be postponed.
How we are Protecting our Guests
Our guests’ health and safety are of the utmost importance to us and, with that in mind, you will see below the steps that we are taking to protect you and mitigate the risk of contracting & spreading COVID-19 while you are travelling on our tours.
- We request that you wear your face mask whilst in our vehicles at all times.
- While vehicles are moving we’ll ensure that the windows are open to increase fresh airflow and circulation.
- Each vehicle will be thoroughly sanitised at start and end of the trip.
- Your vehicle will be provided with hand sanitiser and tissues.
- We will dispose of any rubbish bag with tissues at the end of every day.
- We use the sanitising spray to wipe down van surfaces daily.
- Notify your guide if you are feeling unwell at the earliest opportunity.
- Avoid unnecessary personal contact (hugs, kisses, high-fives etc.) and passing around of objects.
- Please make the effort not to touch your face and follow the personal hygiene recommendations.
- Wash your hands properly and often.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze.
- Put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Avoid close contact with people who are not well.
- Stay at home if you are sick to help stop the spread of whatever infection you may have.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
- Do not share objects that touch your mouth – for example, bottles.
- Do not pass your phone or camera to others.
If you Become Unwell
The symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- A dry cough
- A raised temperature (over 37.3 C)
- Shortness of breath
- Loss or change to taste and smell
Our guides have been trained on how to handle a situation where they or a member of the group show symptoms of COVID-19. This forms a key part of our updated operating procedures and is in line with government advice.
This does not necessarily mean that you have the virus but UK government and UK National Health Service advice is that you call 111 if you suspect you have symptoms. This is applicable for visitors to Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales.
It is requested that you do not visit a doctor’s surgery, hospital or pharmacy.
For more information we recommend you visit the following pages: