Nobody could have foreseen what this year had in store for us. Even for the few that followed the early days of the Wuhan outbreak, the idea that it would spread across the globe and bring Shetland to a standstill was not a thought ever given. It can be difficult to look back on the past 6 months and see anything but the worst of it. But in that time, we have seen young families grow, businesses support their communities and Shetlanders supporting Shetlanders.
As we continue to ease back into normality, we are going to do our best to look back at the past six months in Shetland and showcase the good that came out of it. This will be across a series of features here on #TeamShetland.
As the coronavirus pandemic swept across the United Kingdom, the realisation that it could come to our shores became poignant. A nervous look older the shoulder soon turned into a replication of what we were seeing elsewhere.
You would be hard-fought to find toilet roll on the shelves, hand sanitizer would be missing in action for several weeks while the demand across the country surged, Tesco and their delivery service would be backlogged for weeks on end.
Shops were being left empty of essential items and many were wondering if Shetland could stand together.
Shetland’s cases were the highest across Scotland early on and it was a genuinely scary and frightening time for many. It is a weird time to look back on and to see how much has changed. The Isles would go onto receive acclaim for shutting up shop and nullifying the threat and as the panic settled and people got their bearings, Shetland came together against the global pandemic.
There are dozens of examples of people helping and supporting those shielding in their small, robust communities. We had businesses completely change how they would operate, some at almost the flick of a switch, to offer support to those that needed it.
There are countless examples of people helping and supporting the elderly and shielding in their neighbourhoods. We had businesses completely change how they operating to offer that same support online. Food shops were offering free deliveries to those that could not get out themselves without putting themselves at risk. Shops across Da Street shifted their focus to eCommerce since they were told to shut their doors to customers If they were deemed not essential. Restaurants that had never looked at deliveries would go onto offer them – Busta, for one, thriving in the North offering takeaways every night to different areas.
However, it was not just the ones who provided tangible goods for the people of Shetland who were forced to adapt quickly. With everything closing, personal trainers, consultants and counsellors to name a few had to make changes to support their clients. Many service providers, such as digital marketers and consultants arguably had an easy transition to remote working and video calls with clients, but for those who would usually require gyms or intimate surroundings the change was a much more strenuous one.
As businesses and organisations made the difficult, often stressful move to try and provide services and goods online, the people of Shetland were patient as they continued to support their communities through delivering essentials, musical livestreams, fundraising, socially distanced marches and stories and classes through social media.
Over the coming weeks and months, we will be taking focus with some of the most positive of people, groups and communities and the impact they had on Shetland during one of the most trying times in recent years. Do you know someone deserving of recognition? Get in touch with us and let us know!