Friday 6 May 2022

Future Edinburgh Tours on Hiatus


We are now over two years from the start of the pandemic and yet the world is still not where we had hoped it would be. Unfortunately planning for future tours is on hiatus. 

Unlike Ireland, the NRS/ScotlandsPeople Centre is an old building. More than 200 years old. As such, the ventilation system is not built to manage airborne viruses. Granted, masking would significantly reduce the risk, but the government eliminated the masking mandate for all indoor spaces. And of course, portable HEPA filters are inexpensive and could be placed in each room. Surely one would think a grant would be available to cover the costs, but this doesn't seem to have been considered as an option to safely re-opening. 

There are staff at the NRS who have only just returned to in-office work and they are doing so on a part time basis. It is anyone's guess when the staffing compliment will be back at full capacity, but I am thinking it may well be another year, sadly.  

The Historical Search Room is still by appointment only, time limited and priority is still being given to academic researchers and full time professional genealogists. 

In addition, many of the family history societies in Scotland are not yet back to fully open hours. This includes the Scottish Genealogy Society. 

All of these factors together create a great deal of difficulty in managing or arranging research tours for groups at least for the foreseeable future. As such, the Edinburgh tours are to be placed on HOLD until things change significantly. Certainly, this isn't going to be possible for the rest of 2022 nor likely the first half of 2023. Given the painfully slow reopening process thus far, and the incredibly limited options for individual researchers, as to when groups might once again be able to visit the NRS/ScotlandsPeople Centre is anyone's guess.