SLTA Welcomes Scottish Government Announcement That Industry Can Reopen On July 15

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) has welcomed the Scottish Government’s intention to reopen hospitality and tourism businesses from July 15.

Following Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing’s announcement that the tourism and hospitality sector can reopen on July 15, SLTA managing director Colin Wilkinson said: “We welcome the Scottish Government’s announcement that Scotland’s pubs, bars, hotels and restaurants will reopen on July 15.

“With a month’s lead in time, this also allows business owners to prepare their operations to comply with both Government and industry guidelines currently being finalised and due for publication on June 18.

“This indicative date is an important step to a return to some sort of normality, but the main question now is what the social-distancing parameters will be.

“The SLTA and other industry bodies have asked the Scottish Government to give serious consideration to reducing the current two-metre parameter as we have seen in other countries and to bring the level in line with the World Health Organisation.

“If the current distancing measures are maintained, normal capacities could be reduced by between 60% and 80%, and each business will need to assess the practicalities, cost and viability of complying with the new guidance.”

In addition, the SLTA welcomes the efforts of the Scottish Government to seek a VAT reduction for the hospitality and tourism sector which will be pivotal in attracting not only foreign tourists to Scotland, but staycation visitors as well.

Wilkinson further added that the announcement that unallocated grant funding will be assessed and redirected to those businesses which have not been able to access this support before is also welcome. “It will perhaps bring some hope to those tourism and hospitality business which have been ignored so far,” he said.

“If this funding is to be re-routed to help businesses through the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund or Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund we must see a greater increase in the number of successful applications – industry research shows that as of last week, only 14% of applicants have been successful with their applications for these grants, the rest either having failed or are still waiting to hear.

“These businesses need that support now and all business will continue to need ongoing support if the industry is to survive and rebuild over the coming months.

“Already we hear of business closures and redundancies within the industry and if businesses and jobs in the hospitality and tourism sector are to be saved, support must be given now. Time is of the essence and the clock is ticking too fast for too many.”

Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing, in a statement to the Scottish Parliament this afternoon, said that businesses should prepare for a “provisional return to trading with appropriate safety guidelines” on July 15.