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Perth bus driver charged with ‘reckless conduct’ after visiting garage with Covid-19

A Stagecoach bus driver was charged with reckless conduct for visiting a Perthshire garage after she tested positive for Covid-19.

Jennifer Holmes, from Perth, was ordered to self-isolate for 10 days when she contracted the virus in early 2021.

But on her eighth day of isolation, she drove to a garage in Birnam and hopped on a bus home.

The 48-year-old was reported to her bosses – and then the police – by a member of the public who met her at a bus stop.

Holmes, of Scott Street, appeared at Perth Sheriff Court having previously pleaded guilty by letter to a charge of culpable and reckless conduct.

Court papers state that on January 8, 2021, at Mill Street, Perth, and Perth Road, Birnam, she failed to self-isolate for 10 days, attended at public places and interacted with members of the public.

She boarded and travelled on public transport and “exposed lieges to danger and risk of infection”.

At the time, Scotland was still under strict lockdown regulations and all pubs, restaurants and cafes were closed.

Holmes was admonished after a brief hearing before Sheriff Edward Gilroy.

Witness ‘thought it was strange’

The court heard that on New Year’s Day 2021, Holmes received a notification that she was a close contact of someone who had tested positive for Covid.

She went for a PCR test and was informed that she too was infected the following day.

As per regulations at the time, Holmes was told to isolate for 10 days.

“The accused worked for bus company Stagecoach,” Fiscal Depute David Currie told the court. “She called her employer to advise them that she had tested positive.”

He said: “At 11am on Friday, January 8, the accused attended at Bob’s Garage in Birnam to drop off a car for repairs.

“There were various witnesses to this,” said the fiscal depute. “There were people there that she interacted with.

“She also met a witness at a bus stop.

“This witness thought it was strange she was out, given that she was meant to be isolating at this time.”

Mr Currie said: “Subsequently Stagecoach was contacted and the matter was reported to the procurator fiscal.”

A Stagecoach East Scotland spokeswoman said: “The actions of one individual in this case do not reflect the huge contribution of thousands of our people across the country in helping their colleagues and customers stay safe, and in keeping the country moving and communities connected, throughout the pandemic.”

Changing regulations

At the time, the Scottish Government had introduced a new set of lockdown rules.

People were only allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons, such as shopping or attending medical appointments.

It was against the rules for people from different households to meet indoors.

There were also restrictions on using public transport.

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