COVID Levels and Guidance for Aberdeen and South Shields – our interpretation and application

Background: We have had some, let’s just say ‘unusual’ booking enquiries recently.

Or to use a good Aberdonian phrase folk who are ‘at it.’

A 2 week enquiry to have some ‘time out over the Christmas period’ which then turned into ‘take it for 1 month and if my work is longer will take it for 6 months!’

A clear party booking in South Shields.

And a few others of dubious truthfulness.

Having been round the block a bit we must inform customers that we were not born yesterday so please do not bother trying it on to get a holiday in Scotland or an extended trip back to South Shields to see family.

We all want to get away for a break or back to our home towns to see family but it’s not on at this minute in time.

So as a responsible operator Dwellcome Home would like to inform our customers that we WILL be sticking to ‘the COVID rules’.

And to make it clear what the rules are which affect our business and you our valued guests, and how we will apply them we have highlighted them below for your enjoyment.

Aberdeen COVID Status and rules.

Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire will move to level 3 in the national Covid-19 protection levels from 6pm on Friday 18th December.

As per Scottish Government Guidance all holiday accommodation (hotels, B&Bs, self-catering, caravan and camping sites) can stay open in line with sector guidance for tourism and hospitality. However, tourists should not travel into, or out of, a Level 3 area for holidays or visits. Exceptions for essential travel includes those who must travel for work, education, health, participate in or facilitate shared parenting or for those attending weddings or funerals which requires an overnight stay.

Those living in a Level 3 area can still use holiday accommodation in their area but should not stay in the same self-catered accommodation with another household.

ABERDEEN/SCOTTISH Christmas Bubble: Scottish Government Guidance on Christmas Bubbles states:

You and members of your bubble up to a maximum of 8 people (not including those under 12) can meet/stay in self-catering accommodation or a second home between 23 and 27 December – but only where this is located in a council area that you or a member of your bubble lives in.

Accommodation providers are asked to remind people booking that at least one of the households must be from the local authority area. 

ABERDEEN Conclusion: Apart from the pretty clear Christmas bubble rules, now Aberdeen is in Level 3 we can only take leisure guests from within the Aberdeen area and workers away from home and we will continue to apply the guidance on COVID risk control measures. In reality this does not represent a significant change to us as we have not taken many leisure bookings in any event since the pandemic started.

South Shields COVID Status and rules.

South Shields has now for some time been in Tier 3 of the UK government COVID system and following UK Government Tier 3 guidance we can only accept guests who:

  • are unable to return to their main residence
  • uses it as their main residence
  • needs it while moving house
  • needs it to attend a funeral, linked commemorative event or following a bereavement of a close family member or friend
  • are isolating themselves from others as required by law
  • are an elite athlete (or their coach) and needs it for training or competition
  • needs it for work purposes, or to provide voluntary or charitable service
  • was staying there immediately before the area entered Tier 3
  • needs it to attend education or training
  • are a carer for someone they live with and is seeking respite
  • needs to attend a medical appointment or treatment

South Shields Christmas Bubble

These UK (South Shields) restrictions on accommodation do not apply between 22 to 28 December 2020. This means that accommodation may open during this period for people to stay in order to be located near their Christmas bubbles. However other restrictions, such as those on hospitality and social contact still apply – so people cannot mix with their Christmas bubble in a hotel, for example, unless a member of their bubble lives their permanently. Please see separate guidance for more information on the rules for social contact during the Christmas period (23 to 27 December).

SOUTH SHIELDS Conclusion: We can only take guests travelling for the purposes of Christmas Bubbling, Unlike the Scottish guidance, this guidance lacks clarity and appears to have been written by a 5 year old. Therefore we will only be allowing single/extended households travelling back to Shields from other parts of the country. We will not allow Christmas Bubbles to gather at our accommodation. This is counterintuitive as doesn’t align with the Scottish Rules but unless we get more clarity is it the stance we will take in an attempt to follow the intent of the ‘guidance’.

We will continue to accommodate those in the allowable categories, mainly workers away from home, which we have helped and vice versa throughout the pandemic, and we will continue to apply the guidance on COVID risk control measures. In reality this does not represent a significant change to us as we have not taken many leisure bookings in any event since the pandemic hit.

SUMMARY:

Many in our accommodation industry, having been hard hit by COVID like ourselves (we have not taken one penny of government support) are showing a high level of wriggle room.

They appear to interpret the rules as simply guidance and not complying on the basis that words such as ‘should,’ ‘should not,’ etc are used rather than ‘shall not.’

Having studied Safety Engineering to Masters and chartered level and a Post Grad Diploma in Safety I have studied lots of law and its application.

Guidance is issued to help demonstrate compliance to the law.

I.e. if you follow guidance you comply with the law.

So if you don’t follow guidance you have to demonstrate how what you have done is as good/safe as the guidance.

So for the wrigglers you better have a good story if/when you get caught.

But regardless of whether it’s a must, shall, should, ‘go on be a good boy’ or whatever else, we will be applying it.

If you want to book with us, book direct.

We will ask questions, ask for evidence, like proof of address, proof from employer, etc and if you comply with the rules as we see them you will be allowed to stay.

If you book via a third party, it will be more expensive, and if you do not comply with the rules we will cancel your booking and you may lose your money to the third party.

If you meet the rules and stay with us we will provide you with a lovely base for your trip.

And if you don’t we can’t wait until this shit storm is over and we can host you again in future.

Thanks for reading and I hope you are better informed and maybe chuckled once or twice as well.

Ho ho ho!

Colin X

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