Letters to the editor – May 8, 2020

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Last week’s (May 1 edition) front page story generated a big response from readers by phone, letter, email and on social media.
With a project under way to renew and upgrade the electricity line built in the 1950s between Inveraray and north Kintyre, there is concern over public safety during the coronavirus pandemic, with workers travelling from across the UK to work in Mid Argyll and mixing with the community.
In the article, SSEN said its contractors follow strict government and industry guidance and have introduced new operating procedures. Main contractor Balfour Beatty says it is adhering to the Construction Leadership Council’s COVID-19 site operating procedures.
A selection of comments posted on the Argyllshire Advertiser Facebook page:

Jock Munro posted: ‘I fail to see how two men in the front seat of a minibus or van can stay two metres apart. They are not wearing any form of facemask and are in and out of the Co-op in Inveraray every day.’

Graham Macpherson responded: ‘A lot more than two came out the minibus the other day.’

Jimmy McCallum: ‘As regards Balfour Beatty, how can they claim their employees follow the rules? Do they really think these guys go home to the Mrs and sleep on the couch?’

Jimmy McMahon: ‘…counted at least four Balfour Beatty vans outside the chippy last night with them all sharing same vans. No two metre distance and from what I am hearing some are still heading down to England at the weekends and back which it basically states at the bottom of the article. It would be different if they weren’t going away back down south at the wekends but this isn’t the case. If they have no accommodation this way, they should be furloughed like the rest of us.’

Simon Taylor: ‘Is it really essential work when we have power when most small businesses can’t work because of this, but they can come from all over Britain and work in a small town? Should be made to stop like the rest of us.’

Julie Gallacher, who is recovering after contracting COVID-19 as featured elsewhere in this edition, wrote: ‘It beggars belief how this is allowed. We can’t see our children/grandchildren and others close to us because we are listening to the government about social distancing and our NHS and carers and other public persons are going out there putting themselves in danger to help us. It is a slap in the face and should be stopped. I simply can’t believe this. Please stop this till it’s over.

Another man wrote (name and address supplied): ‘This week in Inveraray the Balfour Beatty workers have been using the Co-op. On one occasion I went in and there was four van loads of them in there. About eight workers at least. No gloves/masks or social distancing.’

The companies have responded, and this can be found on the Argyllshire Advertiser print/online edition and on the newspaper’s website.