Visiting the Isles of Scilly during the coronavirus pandemic

Please note that this information is correct as of 16 August 2021. You must refer to the most recent guidance before planning and embarking on your journey.

Please be aware that national guidance applies to the Isles of Scilly, just as it does elsewhere in England and that we have had confirmed cases of coronavirus on the islands throughout the pandemic. We really need your help to protect the health of everyone on the islands and to ensure our services, infrastructure and businesses can continue to run, so we have provided some guidance below on things you should consider when planning your journey and stay on the Isles of Scilly. 

Given the number of coronavirus cases nationally and the recent move to Step 4 of the government’s roadmap, our Director of Public Health has been keen to strongly encourage the continuation of the safe behaviours which have kept Scilly comparatively safe so far. 

We urge you to err on the side of caution in relation to government guidance and ask you to continue taking the following measures at all times:

  • wash hands – wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds
  • face coverings – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
  • make space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings)
  • fresh air – meeting outside is safer than meeting inside. If you do meet inside, let plenty of fresh air in.
  • NHS COVID-19 app – download and use the app to support NHS Test and Trace. Keep bluetooth turned on so you can be notified if you need to take action.

Thank you for taking the time to plan for a safe and enjoyable visit.

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DO NOT travel to the Isles of Scilly if you:

  • have any symptoms of COVID-19
  • have tested positive for coronavirus and are within the self-isolation period
  • have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace and asked to self-isolate

Please consider the following if travelling to the islands:

  • Recheck the guidance. You MUST check the government guidance immediately before you travel and ensure you have read all of the advice from your travel and accommodation providers.
  • Take a Lateral Flow Test before travelling and continue regular testing once on the islands. In line with current government advice, you are encouraged to continue regular rapid testing whilst on the islands. You may wish to take a lateral flow test before travelling and bring a supply with you to the islands. If you are unable to bring a supply with you, you are also welcome to collect rapid tests on the islands
  • Plan your journey. Plan each stage of your journey and stay on Scilly.
  • NHS number. Bring your NHS number with you. It is required for the testing process and having it to hand will help ensure you get your test result as quickly as possible.
  • Face coverings. Pack sufficient face coverings for the duration of your stay - even since the removal of the legal restrictions relating to face coverings on 19 July, government still encourages the use of them in any enclosed space where you encounter people you do not ordinarily meet. Local transport providers have decided that face coverings remain mandatory, as a condition of travel. Please refer to the coronavirus information on their respective websites for further information about where you will be required to wear a face covering during your journey to Scilly and around the islands. Our Director of Public Health has recommended that everyone continues to wear a face covering in any indoor space where social distancing may be difficult and where you come into contact with people you do not live with AND in any outside space where you cannot maintain a 2-meter social distance. Many island businesses will have their own policy relating to face coverings, so please check for this information before entering each premises.
  • Individual businesses may have their own coronavirus policy. Many local businesses have adopted their own coronavirus policies to keep our community as safe as possible and to ensure they can remain open throughout the summer. We ask that you look out for these policies and observe the rules in place for each island premises you enter. Your support in helping those in customer-facing roles to work as safely as possible would be very much appreciated.
  • Hand sanitiser. Bring hand sanitiser with you so you always have access to it. Where there are hand sanitiser stations available, please use them. 
  • Charge your phone and remain contactable. Keep your phone charged at all times so that you can be contacted by the NHS Test and Trace System. You may also wish to enable Wi-Fi calling, if available, on your mobile phone. If you cannot get your phone to work in your accommodation, you must ensure you can safely access and relay messages from our Local Incident Response Team and NHS Test and Trace via your accommodation provider or another on-island contact.
  • Medicine. You should bring at least 10 extra days’ worth of any medication or medical supplies you rely on, in case you are required to self-isolate on the islands.
  • Plan for all eventualities. Have a plan for how you will respond if you or any close contacts within your travel party develop symptoms, tests positive or is contacted by NHS Test and Trace while you are on Scilly and discuss it with your accommodation provider before travel. Whilst there is an evacuation scheme in place, it is subject to a full risk assessment of each case and there is no guarantee that you will be evacuated from the islands in the event that you contract coronavirus during your stay. 
  • Use the NHS COVID-19 app to support NHS Test and Trace. Please use the NHS COVID-19 app to scan the NHS QR code posters wherever possible and comply with the rules in place in each business you visit. Keep your bluetooth turned on to support NHS Test and Trace.
  • Contactless payment. Most local businesses offer contactless payments. Please use this system wherever possible.

If you are coming to Scilly to work, you should also consider the following:

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Bring all of the PPE supplies required to support your covid secure working practices, along with supplies of hand sanitiser and necessary cleaning products. Do not rely on being able to buy supplies on the islands. Please check arrangements for transporting such products with your chosen travel operator.
  • Risk assessment. Your risk assessments should cover all aspects of your trip to Scilly, including testing arrangements and contingencies for quarantining – not just generic working practices.

If you are travelling to Scilly by private yacht from another country, you should liaise with St Mary’s Harbour Authority directly by emailing hm@stmarys-harbour.co.uk or calling 01720 422768.

Getting a COVID-19 test on the Isles of Scilly and what to do if you test positive

If you develop any COVID-19 symptoms whilst on the islands, you must immediately:

  • self-isolate in your accommodation
  • notify your accommodation provider
  • and arrange for a test. See our coronavirus symptoms and testing page for full details on how to access a COVID-19 test on the Isles of Scilly.

You must follow these instructions even if you are due to leave the islands imminently, in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Anyone with symptoms or who tests positive for COVID-19 is currently expected to self-isolate in their accommodation for their full isolation period unless otherwise notified by either the Council, Public Health or NHS Test and Trace following a full risk assessment of the situation.

If you test positive for coronavirus during your stay: in exceptional circumstances, it may be agreed that the best course of action would be to evacuate you (and potentially other members of your travel party) to the mainland. Any decision to evacuate would be made following a full risk assessment of each case by Public Health. Please refer to our Evacuation from the islands during the coronavirus pandemic page.

Further Information

For further information about COVID-19 arrangements on the Isles of Scilly visit our COVID-19 information and advice pages. You may also wish to follow our Facebook and Twitter accounts for the latest updates. 

If you have any queries don't hesitate to contact us at keepscillysafe@scilly.gov.uk.