SCOTTISH licensed trade operators are once again questioning why Glasgow Life is being permitted to set up a month-long 6,000-capacity fan zone in Glasgow Green for the Euro 2020 football tournament.
Trade group the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) has already hit out at the move, saying it “adds insult to injury” to struggling licensed hospitality operators in Glasgow who have been haemorrhaging cash since the first Covid lockdown in March 2020.
Colin Wilkinson, SLTA managing director, said: “To say that the trade in Glasgow is angry is an understatement – they are absolutely furious that 6,000 people will be permitted to converge on Glasgow Green and buy alcohol in a scenario that will see a contractor from outwith Scotland reaping the rewards.
“Licensed trade businesses in Glasgow – and across Scotland – have faithfully followed the Scottish Government’s coronavirus guidelines and invested in all the necessary tools to stop the spread of the virus and operate in a safe and controlled environment. At one point they weren’t even allowed to play background music
“Now, we are told that it’s fine to have up to 6,000 people a day, each day for a month, 180,000 in total, gather in Glasgow when just a few weeks ago there were unruly, out-of-control crowds in George Square.
“Our question for the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council is this: who will be controlling the Glasgow Green crowds – can they guarantee that the strict physical distancing and other highly controlled Covid measures that we have been adhering to will be in place and controlled?
“At a time when Scotland has recorded its highest number of new Covid cases since February, is this mass event, which will also take away much-needed business from local pubs and licensed hospitality trade operations, a good idea? The businesses that pay their rates year in, year out and have been absolutely decimated over the last 14-15 months think not.”
Mr Wilkinson said that while he appreciated that there may be a contractual agreement for Euro 2020 host cities to provide fan zone areas “it just doesn’t make sense when the First Minister confirmed yesterday that the R number is now above one and national clinical director Professor Jason Leith has warned that Scotland is entering a third wave of coronavirus”.
“Our big fear is that a fan zone could lead to further Covid outbreaks followed by a fresh lockdown, forcing licensed premises to close again when they have only just managed to start reopening again,” he added.