Sector Reacts To Scotland Hospitality Restriction Extension

Coronavirus restrictions in Scotland which has seen the closure of pubs and restaurants in specific areas and a 6pm indoor hospitality curfew elsewhere are to be extended until November 2, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Ms Sturgeon has said that restrictions on hospitality north of the border will be in place for a week longer than previously stated.

The Scottish Government will publish a tiered system of restrictions on Friday, Nicola Sturgeon has said, and it will come into effect on November 2.

Commenting, UKHospitality Executive Director for Scotland Willie Macleod said: “This is another catastrophic blow for Scottish hospitality. It is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to keep pace with the constant change in the restrictions they are operating within.

“Many of these businesses are barely hanging on. They have had their revenue strangled or shut off altogether and many will have little or no cash in reserve. Extending the restrictions for another week could finish off those businesses that had just about manged to formulate a plan to see them through the initial lockdown.

“The support on offer isn’t going to be enough to save the sector. The £40m announced by the Scottish Government was intended to cover a 16-day period to 25 October. That sum was inadequate when it was announced and it is only going to be diluted further.

“Businesses are going to go under and take valuable jobs with them. It is now vital that the Scottish Government outlines plans for additional support to keep the sector from being totally wiped out.

“We are expecting an announcement tomorrow on the Scottish Government’s proposed tier system. That needs to be accompanied by a confirmation of how it intends to support businesses that continue to be hammered and some indication of the route map for businesses during these uncertain and distressing times.”

CAMRA’s Director for Scotland Joe Crawford said: “The First Minister’s announcement of an extra week of pub closures and the prospect of further lockdowns and restrictions from 2nd November has come as a hammer blow to pubs and breweries across the country.

“These businesses feel like they are being offered up as a sacrificial lamb without sufficient evidence that pubs – who have done everything they have been asked to track and trace customers and make their venues COVID-secure – are responsible for transmission of the virus.

“The Scottish Government must urgently review and improve their support package to make sure all our pubs and breweries get the financial compensation and support they need to get through this extended closure period – and, crucially, also during the tiered restrictions that will follow.

“In addition, ministers need to give breweries and pubs enough notice about their plans so people can plan and re-stock for opening their doors again.

“Without a longer-term support package to make up for lost trade and reduced consumer confidence I fear that this could be the end for the beer and pub sector as we know it.”