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Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ’s

Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ’s

We understand that everyone is concerned about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the impact it is having globally as well as within the United Kingdom. Islands & Highlands Cottages share the same concerns.

We have been working alongside our cottage owners and housekeepers ensuring the new cleaning guidelines are being adhered to, and that they can reopen safely. Islands & Highlands Cottages will continue to monitor the restrictions and recommendations that are being made by the Scottish and UK Governments and we will follow their guidance.

Please ensure that you follow all restrictions that apply to where you live. We understand this can be a quickly changing factor, so please just get in touch to discuss it further.

Travel & Hospitality Restrictions …

The Scottish Government have introduced protection levels ranging from 0 to 4. Different areas of Scotland have been allocated different levels due to the prevalence of COVID-19 in that area. Details of the restrictions under this level can be seen here. Please be aware that the definition of each level differs to what they were in 2020.

Unfortunately, as we come out of the temporary lockdown we are now in level 3 along with the rest of mainland Scotland. We will be within level 2 from the 17th May. Details of which you can see here.

This means that travel to and from the area is permitted within the whole of the UK but it does have an negative impact on who can stay at a holiday cottage. Currently, only one household can stay at a holiday cottage. We expect this to change from 17th May 2021 and become up to 6 people over the age of 12 years plus children under the age of 12 years from three households. This is expected to relax further as the summer progresses.

Why choose to stay at a self-catering cottage?

Self-catering holiday cottages offer a safe environment for guests to stay; where contact with others can be kept to a minimum and families can interact freely within the grounds of the property.

Self-contained, they are the ideal accommodation type to be able to relax and unwind. Many restaurants are now offering takeaway services too, so eating out can now be dining at home!

After a day of walking, sightseeing, wildlife spotting … it really becomes a haven and a home from home.

Occupancy …

The Scottish Government has confirmed it is only a maximum of one household that can stay at a self catering cottage from the 25th September 2020. This is hoped to ease on the 17th May 2021. From then onwards, as long as the infection level permits, a maximum of four people over the age of 12 years from two households will be able to meet indoors. And it is hoped that from mid June a maximum of six people from three households will be able to meet indoors.

Currently, the maximum occupancy is 6 people aged 12 years or older. There is no limit to children under the age of 12. Everyone must be from the same household / extended family.

You can see how the new guidelines may affect you here including information on extended families.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-phase-3-staying-safe-and-protecting-others/pages/seeing-friends-and-family/

If you think your booking is affected by the new restrictions, please contact us via sales@ihcottages.com.

What to expect …

All of our re-opened holiday cottages are following the new cleaning guidelines set out by the Scottish Government and the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers. These guidelines have a degree of flexibility so they can be tailored to each holiday cottage’s and housekeeper’s needs.

Some of our properties will have removed and stored away items such as books and maps, DVD’s, condiments in the kitchen and extra throws and pillows. This is to reduce the amount of housekeeping required and to reduce the number of places the virus could be present.

The vast majority of our holiday cottages operate a self-check in system. And though the keys and key safes will be disinfected between each stay, it is always recommended that guests use hand santiser before opening them.

Before you arrive …

To ensure that the Coronavirus is not brought up to the area, we are asking all guests to ensure that all of the following statements apply to them:

 

If any of the above statements applies to you or a member of your party, please contact Islands & Highlands Cottages (sales@ihcottages.com) as quickly as you can.

The early symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) include:

  • High temperature
  • A new, continuous cough
  • Loss or change to your sense of taste or smell

 

If you experience any of the symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • Go to NHS Scotland Test and Protect 
  • Do not go to the local GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
  • Inform Islands & Highlands Cottages (sales@ihcottages.com). This is very important because we need to follow guidance to ensure that you and our future guests are kept safe. Please do not be afraid of telling us, we are here to help!

 

During your stay …

At the holiday cottages please remember to wash your hands, use hand sanitiser, sneeze and cough into tissues and dispose of them correctly. All surfaces should be kept clean and disinfected. If something breaks or there is a problem at the property, please contact either the owner or Islands & Highlands Cottages. We will liaise with guests to ensure any issues can be resolved easily and with minimal impact.

As you venture around the Isle of Skye and Lochalsh, please respect all restrictions and guidance that is in place. Whilst sightseeing perhaps hit the “hot spots” of the Storr, Quiraing, Fairy Glen, Neist Point and Fairy Pools at a quieter time of day … sunrise or sunset perhaps and capture the most amazing photographs at the same time! If the car parks are busy and you can see a queue of people already there, perhaps drive on and come back another time. It isn’t going anywhere and it will wait for you! By reducing crowds we will all be able to maintain tourism on the Isle of Skye.

Remember that though you are on holiday, face masks should be worn in shops and on public transport, have a bottle of hand santiser in your car or pocket and use it before entering a shop or museum. And if staff ask you to wait before entering, just remember, that’s OK … you’re in no rush, you’re on holiday!

The morning of your departure …

At the end of your stay, it is very important that guests leave at the correct time. With the additional cleaning required, housekeepers really do need the full amount of time to get everything completed within.

It is appreciated if all guests can ensure the fridge and freezer are emptied of food and condiments, all bins are emptied and taken to the external refuse bin, and all glass is taken to the recycling points.

As each property is unique and taking a slightly different approach, there may be property specific instructions left for you to follow. These should be listed in the information given along with the cottage directions and explained at the property as well.

To maintain wellbeing for everyone, it is vital that these as well as any general restrictions in place in the area are followed. Thank you for your understanding on this matter.

Further information on Coronavirus

It is only by adhering to the restrictions in place at any given time, that we can all enjoy some of the things we once took for granted. Below are some links for general guidance on what Coronavirus (COVID-19) is, how to deal with it and who to call if you show any symptoms.

NHS Scotland Advice

NHS Scotland Test & Protect

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Scottish Government Response

Coronavirus (COVID-19): UK Government Response

 

Booking Terms and Conditions

Our booking terms and conditions cover a lot of different scenarios and events that can take place before, during and after a booking. Please make sure you read them carefully!

A few area’s that should be brought to everyone’s attention include …

CARE OF THE PROPERTY. … Due to Coronavirus and the government guidelines concerning the cleaning of self-catering holiday cottages, any instructions given by the Owner or the Agent must be followed by the Client. These instructions may cover the Client’s arrival at the Property, during the holiday let and the Client’s departure. It is only with everyone’s cooperation that self-catering holiday cottages are able to remain open. If the instructions given are not adhered to by the Client, a minimum charge of £80 (no V.A.T) may be applied.

OCCUPANCY. The number of persons occupying the Property must NOT exceed the maximum stipulated for either the Property or the rental rate paid and at least one of the people staying must be 18 years of age or older. The Agent / Owner / Housekeeper reserve the right to either charge an additional fee if applicable or refuse entry to the entire party if this condition is not observed. The Client shall not camp in the grounds of the Property by either campervan or tent. The Client shall not sub-let the Property or any part thereof.

CORONAVIRUS RESTRICTIONS. The Client must ensure that they abide by all applicable governmental restrictions during their stay as well as any requests from the Owners of the property and the Agent. Please ensure that you are aware of any restrictions that are in force at the time of your stay, especially those affecting the Highland region of Scotland which the Isle of Skye and Lochalsh fall under. This can affect the number of households and number of people that can meet indoors and outdoors during the time of your stay, as well as have restrictions on who can travel to the area.

If the Owner is unable to let the Property to the Client due to governmental restrictions in place, then the Client will be offered to either change their dates, request a credit note or receive a full refund. If the Client wishes to cancel their booking before the arrival date is covered by governmental restrictions or they feel uncomfortable travelling at this time, then the Client will be offered to delay paying the balance of their stay, they can change their dates or be given a credit note for use at a future date.

You can find our booking terms and conditions within the footer on any page on our website, and you will see a copy of them as you make a booking online. If you are at all worried or concerned, or you have a special request or requirement, please contact us on sales@ihcottages.com. We can’t guarantee to get the desired outcome, but we can at least ask!