The decision to advise Scots to cancel their Christmas parties is a ‘heavy blow’ for the hospitality industry, says and an industry expert.
On Thursday (December 9) , Public Health Scotland advised people to postpone Christmas parties this year due to the number of Covid-19 outbreaks linked to such events, as well as fears over new variant Omicron.
The new guidance came just days after health secretary Humza Yousaf said people across Scotland should continue with their Christmas plans but “make them safer”.
It is feared the last-minute cancellations will hit the hospitality industry hard, who “really needed this Christmas to be a good one”, Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG) spokesman Stephen Montgomery said.
Leon Thompson, UKHospitality’s Executive Director for Scotland commented: “Hospitality businesses in Scotland are already under severe financial pressure and this advice from Public Health Scotland for people to abandon their plans for Christmas parties is already hitting our sector hard.
“Within minutes of their statement being issued, businesses were receiving cancellations, leaving Christmas and Hogmanay trade in tatters. Businesses take up to a third of their annual revenue at this time of year. Public Health Scotland has single-handedly jeopardised the survival of businesses and the jobs people rely on.
“This came just after the delivery of the Scottish Budget which offered little hope to our beleaguered sector. However, with little financial support on offer, the Scottish Government is still happy to start considering a tourist tax again, burdening our sector further.
“We need support and a joined-up approach from our government – not punishment. Hospitality businesses across the country are justified in feeling outraged.”