On the day of hospitality reopening in Scotland, the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) are requesting that changes are made to the levels route map. Changes can be justified by positive progress continuing to be made and the sector demonstrating its ability to trade safely and responsibly.
The industry is asking for the extension of opening hours back to normal licensing times, which at the moment is not scheduled to be reintroduced until Level 0. The SBPA says that the current arrangement means that many pubs won’t be viable given the restricted trading hours – risking business failures just as the recovery period should be starting.
Making the request, SBPA President Edith Monfries said:
“It is fantastic to see Scotland’s pubs and bars reopening again today. Teams coming back and reconnecting with customers and communities is an important first step, and everyone is excited to get going again.
“For many premises the ongoing restrictions mean they still cannot open and even for those who are opening their doors again today, the restrictions make a return to profitability difficult, and many will operate at a deficit until further progress through the levels.
“We completely understand and appreciate the cautious approach being adopted by Government in seeking to limit the spread of the virus, and so do the businesses we represent. They have invested, taken on debt and worked tirelessly to ensure their businesses are safe places for customers and staff to return to and take seriously their responsibilities.
“On top of today’s reopening, the current decline in prevalence of the virus coupled with the vaccination roll-out give reasons to be optimistic. That is why we are requesting that if we continue to see positive progress and if there are no major hospitality related incidents, that the Government consider allowing a return to licensing hours.
“Unfortunately, the maintenance of the curfew severely limits profitable hours and for many of Scotland licensed premises, it could be the difference between survival and bankruptcy.
“Removing the curfew restrictions in time for 17 May would provide an enormous boost to the whole licensed trade and deliver renewed confidence in the sector, which would be hugely welcomed by everyone in the trade. Let us show we are safe, and then let us trade viably so we can kickstart Scotland’s recovery together.”