The announcement that pubs and restaurants in a central belt across Scotland are to close from Friday for two weeks in an attempt to curb the spread of Covid-19 has been called a ‘total catastrophe’ by industry leaders.
Speaking yesterday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the new restrictions that would apply to licensed premises across the central belt, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, but hotels would still be allowed to stay open for residents only.
Takeaways will be permitted.
These measures will enforced in five locations including Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lothian and Aryshire and Arran and Lanarkshire.
Outside of this central belt, the restrictions mean that from Friday October 9 at 6pm for 16 days, pubs, bars and restaurants will be able to trade from 6am until 6pm indoors, and only permitted to serve alcohol during this time.
Venues can operate beyond 6pm but offer outside service only until the existing curfew of 10pm without alcohol service.
Hotel restaurants can continue to trade for residents beyond 6pm but must not service alcohol after this time.
Current rules will still apply for weddings and funerals across all areas of Scotland.
Sturgeon also announced that a £40m support package would be available for affected businesses.
“We have decided to put further restrictions on hospitality, but to offer significantly more financial help,” First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish parliament.
Commenting on the announcement, UKHospitality executive director for Scotland Willie Macleod said: “This is a total catastrophe. Scottish hospitality is already on the brink and is unable to look ahead with any degree of confidence.
“Forced closures will spell the end for many, many venues which have no cash flow and will have exhausted their reserves. Severe restrictions to those businesses not forced to close will amount to a closure for many. It is likely to be the final straw for many that were only just hanging on. We are going to see businesses fold and many jobs lost.
“The First Minister stated that hospitality was by far the most impacted of sectors and we now need urgent confirmation of the details of the support package and how it will be applied. Without detail, it looks as though the £40m announced by the First Minister will not nearly be sufficient to support the sector. Any support to underwrite furlough will have to go far beyond the Job Support Scheme, which seems unlikely to be taken up by many hospitality businesses.”