- Welcome and Introduction:
- The current situation is too fluid to have a proper discussion this week. Brief (30 minute) Chairman’s update followed by a full meeting next Friday at 10.00 am.
- A brief meeting with North Ayrshire Council Leader, Cabinet member for the Islands and CEO to discuss the recent Government announcement and how the Island is reacting to it. General concern that we have been included in the Central Belt as NA in general and Arran, in particular, is in a better place than that. The ambiguity around the “cafe” rules and others still need to be understood. Impact on both Business and the Community will be significant. The Business Survey conducted over the next 10 days will provide more quantitative data, but it is reasonable to anticipate it will be very bad. NAC pulling together a response to the latest COVID-19 situation and we thank them for our continued inclusion and their support.
- HSCP update: Greg. We are still COVID free on Arran as of this morning and hoping that will continue a while longer.
- Cases in Ayrshire are rising steadily, as elsewhere. There was a good period with no one in intensive care and very few positive cases in any Ayrshire hospital but today there are 31 confirmed positive cases plus a number of suspected cases and 5 people in intensive care. No easy options for the decision-makers regard lockdown measures.
- The message really remains the same: keep up the good work that has kept the Island free of cases these last few months. Do our best to follow the government guidelines – keep going with social distancing, masks and handwashing. Strictly and immediately self-isolate if you or a household member develop symptoms and book a COVID test.
- The big flu campaign is going well with several hundred vaccinated in the first 2 weeks. We know there has been a lot of pressure on phone access at the GP practice as a result but this has eased a good deal. Get your flu jab if eligible. As usual so many have stepped up to help out and lots of people to thank at the various sites used around the island.
- Staff, like others, are weary but trying to gather the energy for the winter ahead and remain steadily determined to keep providing the best care they can.
Keep going and supporting each other, it would be abnormal not to feel tired and truly fed up with this all.
- Business support/Demand: Bulk of the discussion deferred to next week when we will have the first results from the survey. In summary, 2020 has seen:
- Ferry Disruptions in January and February through weather and equipment failures.
- COVID-19 shutdown March to mid-July.
- Same constraints as everyone else August to present.
- Tourism sector shut down for 16 days with Zero infections since April.
- Normal Ferry resilience issues (equipment a year older) during the autumn and winter.
- The shadow of further disruption through the Ardrossan Harbour development.
The known immediate impact of the most recent constraints are on a sliding scale:
Best case: Auchrannie Serviced: Down 15% and falling plus food and bar.
The Douglas has closed for the 16 days. Several bars and restaurants in the same place.
Worst case: Anecdotally, several hotels and bars, restaurants will close now for the season and potentially longer. Will know more when the survey results come in.
No demand projection is possible at this time until folks have a better idea of what is happening and how they are going to respond. Self-catering impacted but less so.
- Ferry Operations: Announcements should have no effect on the current operation.
- Communication/Surveys: Busines ready to go Monday latest Tuesday with a 7-day return: Alastair leading. Broader Community survey needs the team to review the draft and be ready to issue when the Business Survey is returned. Jude leading
- Governance: NAC cabinet agreement for a Senior Islands Manager will be a real benefit as we copy, develop and implement best practice, operationalising the Island Plan, Community Wealth Building, the 2030 plan and improve overall Island Governance. This could be supported through a new LPP structure, remit and membership that would allow it to support all of the above and more.