Scotland's Quarantine Hotels Remain in Place for Oil and Gas Workers
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed quarantine rules for oil and gas workers returning from overseas will not be eased, despite travel restrictions being loosened for the general public.
Changes introduced in Scotland last month allow residents to travel outside their local council area and meet more people outdoors, but restrictions requiring workers to quarantine in hotels, at a cost of £1,750 over a 10-day isolation period, remain in place.
Speaking at first minister’s questions on 3 June, Scottish Conservative North East Member of Scottish Parliament (MSP) Liam Kerr called for the industry’s essential workers to be allowed to isolate at home instead.
Kerr, the Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy, and Transport, said the sector is being put in an increasingly “desperate” situation by the rules, which have now been in place for 4 months.
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon admitted in her response that the circumstances were “really difficult” for oil workers but said the measures will remain in place.
No Clear Answer
Kerr said, “In February, I asked the first minister when there would be a review into oil and gas worker quarantine to avoid them spending in some cases 10 out of 14 days and three-quarters of their wages in a hotel on return from work overseas.
“I received no clear answer. I asked again in March—no clear answer.
“As travel restrictions ease, is the first minister now in a position to give our key energy workers the review they so desperately crave and at least permit these essential workers to isolate at home?”
Sturgeon replied that her government will “continue to keep all of these things under review” but said it had also faced “legitimate questioning and criticism” from opposition MSPs over whether earlier restrictions had not been cautious enough.
She said, “We need to make sure that, first and foremost, we are protecting people as much as possible against the spread of this virus.
“And that is particularly important when it comes to international travel because that is the key risk right now of importing new variants.
“These are all difficult issues for anybody having to quarantine in a hotel—it’s really difficult—but public safety and public health is paramount here, and I would hope that the Tories would accept that.”