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People with Covid-19 like symptoms must not enter public buildings run by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar - while masks remain mandatory and 'virtual' meetings preferred.

That's been made clear in a new statement on public-official relations with the Council and the status of Covid-19 controls.

CnES says: "The past two years have been challenging in many ways and the Comhairle throughout this time has sought to maintain the highest standards for all its service users.

"Community transmission, nationally and locally, is currently high and has delayed the transition to a low threat level, originally planned for 21 March. 

"The main impact of this is that the wearing of face masks will continue to be required on public transport and certain indoor settings until early April.

"Current advice on testing remains until 18 April.  From the end of April, it is intended that routine testing and contact tracing will end."

Most people, say CnES, will access services directly through the website www.cne-siar.gov.uk or call the Customer Helpline 01851 600501.

If anyone needs to speak to a specific officer or service representative, the most effective way is to make an appointment with that individual.  T

he means above may be used to make the initial contact to arrange an appointment. However the Comhairle may need to get back in touch in order to confirm the appointment arrangements.

"If needs are urgent, the Comhairle will use every endeavour to attend to the matter immediately," says CnES. 

The current preference is to use telephone or video-conferencing platforms for meetings.

However, the Comhairle says it is happy to facilitate face-to-face meetings, if it is preferable to the service user. 

Offices are risk-assessed in relation to the prevailing Covid-19 guidance and this will determine office accessibility.

"Please do not enter any of the Comhairle’s public buildings if you are experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms.

"It remains a requirement to wear a face covering on entrance to Council Offices. 

"Staff will instruct when it is safe to remove face covering inside – from your own, or the staff member’s perspective, there may be a preference that face coverings be worn throughout the meeting. 

"These preferences should be mutually respected."